"Skyscaper slum" gives Venezuelans escape from poverty, crime
Monday, April 07, 2014 - 01:29
April 7 - ''The Tower of David'' high rise in Caracas offers thousands of low-income residents a way out of violent shantytowns. Nathan Frandino reports.
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It's called "The Tower of David."
Standing 45 floors tall, it's a high rise building overlooking Caracas.
Upon a closer look though, one finds that the building is not even finished.
In fact, it was abandoned after the developer died.
But on the inside, about 3,000 squatters have taken up residency.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) TOWER RESIDENT THAIS RUIZ SAYING:
"People tell us that this is too insecure and that it's really dangerous to walk in front of the building, but I invite you to come and see the reality inside. I am a mother and I wouldn't change it for the outside - we feel insecurity in regard to what's outside the building, not inside. Inside we feel more than safe."
This resident came from a neighborhood ruled by gangs.
Her kids couldn't even leave home.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) TOWER RESIDENT, THAIS RUIZ, SAYING:
"Here, on the other hand, they go to the courtyard to play, they have coaches and they can practice sports and that makes them happy."
Some residents even opened up businesses in their homes -- anything to flee the country's poverty.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) TOWER RESIDENT, WILLMER ANGEL, SAYING:
"I have always asked: What sin have the tower inhabitants committed? That we were born poor and without resources and without anyone to help us - that is how we ended up here."
In a country where there are few signs of relief in the poverty rate it's a question more people are likely to ask.
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