centro financiero confinanzas

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Life inside Caracas’ unfinished skyscraper Centro Financiero Confinanzas, the world’s tallest slum

It was meant to be world financial center and the third-tallest building in all of Venezuela, known for its sprawling cities and staggering inequality. But in 1994, construction was halted on the building after four years thanks to a banking crisis that saw 17 of the nation’s 49 commercial banks fail. Over time, the abandoned building was colonized by squatters from nearby slums. Today, the tower is the world’s largest vertical slum — dubbed “Torre David,” or “Tower of David,” by residents — the structure hosts a self-contained community of roughly 3,000 people in over 750 families spanning 45 floors, each with their own shops and services. Residents pay a $32 monthly condo fee for 24-hour armed security and run a co-operative mini-government, with non-compliance for the rules being punished with “social work” like chores and repairs around the building.

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In Focus: Squatters in Venezuela’s 45-Story ‘Tower of David’

In 1990, construction began on the Centro Financiero Confinanzas, a huge high-rise office complex in Caracas, Venezuela. Construction halted in 1994, after a banking crisis and the death of the building’s main investor, David Brillembourg. The 45-story tower stood vacant until 2007, when squatters began moving in, displaced by a massive housing shortage in Caracas. Authorities turned a blind eye, and the skyscraper, nicknamed the “Tower of David” (after David Brillembourg), is now home to more than 3,000 residents. The third-highest skyscraper in the country has been jury-rigged with electricity and water up to the 22nd floor. Reuters photographer Jorge Silva spent some time with tower residents earlier this year, returning with these photographs of the world’s tallest slum.

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WAÏF: Where architecture gets occupied

Torre de David

The “Tower of David” is an abandoned skyscraper in the centre of Caracas which has become home to 3,000 people. In 1990, construction began on the Centro Financiero Confinanzas, a huge high-rise office complex in Caracas, Venezuela. Construction halted in 1994, after a banking crisis and the death of the building’s main investor, David Brillembourg. The 45-story tower stood vacant until 2007, when squatters began moving in, displaced by a massive housing shortage in Caracas. Authorities turned a blind eye, and the skyscraper, nicknamed the “Tower of David” (after David Brillembourg), is now home to more than 3,000 residents. The third-highest skyscraper in the country has been jury-rigged with electricity and water up to the 22nd floor. 

Photo by Jorge Silva (Reuters)

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5,000 people are facing eviction from Venezuela’s slum tower because of big business

The roughly 5,000 residents of a massive, unfinished skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela, called the “world’s tallest slum” or the “Tower of David” are being rapidly evicted.

Advocates report that 100 families have already been forcibly evicted from the 45-story building as of July 23, and the remainder of its population of 1,200 families is soon to follow. This comes just two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government promised to improve living conditions there.

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