In his piece on Venezuela last week,Jon Lee Andersonwrites about the failed city of Caracas by way of the Tower of David, a looming and dilapidated structure that he describes as “a ziggurat of mirrored glass topped by a great vertical shaft, [rising] forty-five stories above the city.” The Tower, which can be seen from almost anywhere in Caracas, is a symbol of the downward spiral that Venezuela has experienced under Hugo Chávez’s rule.

The Spanish photographer Sebastian Liste met Anderson in Caracas to photograph the Tower. Liste described the experience of photographing the world’s tallest slum in what he says is a hostile, unpredictable city: “Nothing compares to the experience of walking up the dark stairs, one by one, haunted by thoughts of what might come next.” In what he calls “a dance between the eyes of the security guards in every corner and the movement of my arm which holds the camera,” Liste captured in stark detail the condition of the Tower’s residents and those of its surrounding neighborhoods, as well as the chavistas who poured into the streets of Caracas in support of their ailing leader.

Click-through for a slideshow:


The world’s tallest slum.

Welcome to the world’s tallest slum: poverty-ridden Venezuela’s Tower of David. Squatters took over this very unfinished 45-story skyscraper in the early 1990s, and they’ve been there ever since. The tower was originally intended to be a symbol of Caracas’ bright financial future, complete with a rooftop helipad, but construction stopped because of a banking crisis and the sudden death of the tower’s namesake, David Brillembourg.

Today, as the government is grappling with a citywide housing shortage, the tower is a stark monument to what could have been in the country’s crime-plagued capital. The tower is dogged by accusations of being a hotbed of crime, drugs and corruption. But to residents, many of whom have spent their entire lives there, it’s just home.

Watch as Vocativ climbs the tower and gains the rare in-depth access to residents’ daily lives inside this unique and sinister establishment.

Few cameras have been allowed into the depths of the tower. It is an experience not to be missed.

We answered some frequently asked questions about our Tower of David video here:


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.

Read more.

First look at Rapunzel!

It’s a good thing Disney’s animated-movie division is continuing to crank out fresh hits like Frozen, because ABC's Once Upon a Time is burning through the studio’s catalog of characters. In March, the drama will introduce Rapunzel — though executive producer Adam Horowitz is quick to point out, “We’re not doingTangled; we’re doing our spin on the character.”

“We went a little darker and freakier,” says executive producerEdward Kitsis. “A little more horror story in the vein of [the 2004 movie] The Grudge.”

The long-locked damsel (Alexandra Metz) will be visited in her tower by Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) as well as a mysterious hooded menace. Might it be the Wicked Witch of the West (Rebecca Mader) lurking under that hood? “I can’t tell you,” says Mader. Yeah, yeah, we know. If you did, you’d have to kill us.

A Grammar Rhyme
by David B. Tower & Benjamin F. Tweed

Three little words you often see
Are ARTICLESa, an, and the.

NOUN’s the name of anything,
As: school or gardentoy, or swing.

ADJECTIVES tell the kind of noun,
As: great, small, pretty, white, or brown.

VERBS tell of something being done: 
To read, write, count, sing, jump, or run.

How things are done the ADVERBS tell, 
As: slowly, quickly, badly, well.

CONJUNCTIONS join the words together,
As: men and women, wind or weather.

The PREPOSITION stands before
A noun as: in or through a door.

The INTERJECTION shows surprise
As: Oh, how pretty! Ah! how wise!

The whole are called the PARTS of SPEECH,
Which reading, writing, speaking teach.

“Why the song leaves out pronouns is a mystery. A writer from Richland, Washington, suggests ‘A PRONOUN replaces any noun: / he, she, it, and you are found.’" —Grammar.ccc’s page "Definitions of Basic Sentence Parts”


The 2012 Human Tower competitors in Tarragona, Spain

You’ve most certainly considered photographs of the has the same opinion de Castells, the human tower competitors held within the area of Catalonia, Spain, however photographer David Oliete got a pretty distinctive perspective in 2012, capturing the complete event at what appears to be a virtually aerial place. as the throngs of castellers—lots of of guys, girls and even children—push forward in a claustrophobic mass to construct their best possible human towers, biological shapes paying homage to insects or even animal cells begin to kind. Oliete shares with me via e-mail in regards to the competition:

the most important Human Tower competition is referred to as “is of the same opinion de Castells” and it takes situation in the metropolis of Tarragona as soon as every two years. Its XXIV edition passed off all over the sixth and seventh October 2012 with the participation of 32 teams from all around Catalonia and a reside audience of more than 20,000 individuals. all through the competition, the higher and difficult to construct a tower is, the extra points a crew gets.
every human tower is frequently between six and ten ranges excessive. teams are manufactured from between 100 to 500 men and women. young and lightweight participants type the top of the tower whereas heavier individuals kind the base.

The “castells” have also been one of the vital cultural traditions in Catalonia for greater than 200 years. “power, steadiness, braveness and common experience” is their motto. In 2010, the castells have been declared through UNESCO to be amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.

you can find many extra pictures from Oliete’ shoot of the is of the same opinion de Castells 2012 over on Flickr, and that you can additionally catch up with him on facebook.


There are parts of you that live in the past. There are parts of you that live in the future; some of them beautiful and some of them terrifying. There are parts of you that live in other people, or among the dead, or in a different world’s 9/11 where nothing special happened that day. There are parts of you that dwell their days in silent rooms, dreaming of Nick Brody and the infinite lives you could have had. There are parts of you that live in an unreachable future where science has relieved you of your disability and you can contain them all. Where these disparate parts of you all come together, in one beautiful girl who is absolutely on fire without purpose. [x]