CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The beginning of the end came for the world’s tallest slum Tuesday as officials began evicting thousands of squatters from a haphazard community inside the half-built Caracas skyscraper known as the Tower of David.
Police in riot gear and soldiers with Kalashnikov assault rifles stood on side streets as dozens of residents boarded buses for their new government-provided apartments in the town of Cua, 23 miles (37 kilometers) south of Caracas.
Ernesto Villegas, the government minister overseeing Caracas’ redevelopment, told reporters the residents could not be allowed to stay indefinitely because the 45-story building in the heart of the capital is unsafe.
He said children have fallen to their deaths from the tower, which in some places is missing walls or windows. The damp, foul-smelling concrete lobby attested to the lack of working plumbing.
Meant to be the crown jewel of a glittering downtown, the building was abandoned amid a 1990s banking crisis. It later was nicknamed the Tower of David, after its financier David Brillembourg.
Villegas said the tower started its life as a symbol of failed capitalism, and later came to represent the power of community. The squatters’ invasion was part of a larger appropriation of vacant buildings encouraged by the late President Hugo Chavez.
Aerial photography by Terry Evans. "The metabolism of our economy is now on a collision course with the metabolism of our planet."words from Australian zoologist/paleontologist Tim Flannery. via but does it float.