Edition:
United States
Pictures | Wed Jul 25, 2018 | 1:35pm EDT

Dying botanical garden highlights Venezuela's decay

Dead palm trees and a dried-up lagoon are what you see when you enter Caracas's botanical garden. A UNESCO World Heritage site and once one of the city's most important tourist spots, its directors are trying to rescue it from abandonment.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Dead palm trees and a dried-up lagoon are what you see when you enter Caracas's botanical garden. A UNESCO World Heritage site and once one of the city's most important tourist spots, its directors are trying to rescue it from...more

Dead palm trees and a dried-up lagoon are what you see when you enter Caracas's botanical garden. A UNESCO World Heritage site and once one of the city's most important tourist spots, its directors are trying to rescue it from abandonment. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
1 / 19
Dried palm leaves are seen at the botanical gardens. While Caracas neighborhoods go weeks without water due to government mismanagement, the gardens have been dry since March and its famed collection of thousands of plant species is wilting away, according to curators.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Dried palm leaves are seen at the botanical gardens. While Caracas neighborhoods go weeks without water due to government mismanagement, the gardens have been dry since March and its famed collection of thousands of plant species is wilting away,...more

Dried palm leaves are seen at the botanical gardens. While Caracas neighborhoods go weeks without water due to government mismanagement, the gardens have been dry since March and its famed collection of thousands of plant species is wilting away, according to curators. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
2 / 19
The remains of a greenhouse. The gardens were once an idyllic spot in Caracas's chaotic center where students from the nearby Central University of Venezuela would meet to study and office workers would relax. The United Nations cultural agency in 2000 called it a "masterpiece of modern city planning".

REUTERS/Marco Bello

The remains of a greenhouse. The gardens were once an idyllic spot in Caracas's chaotic center where students from the nearby Central University of Venezuela would meet to study and office workers would relax. The United Nations cultural agency in...more

The remains of a greenhouse. The gardens were once an idyllic spot in Caracas's chaotic center where students from the nearby Central University of Venezuela would meet to study and office workers would relax. The United Nations cultural agency in 2000 called it a "masterpiece of modern city planning". REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
3 / 19
A volunteer of a group, helping with maintenance works, carries a piece of tree at the botanical garden. As the once-wealthy country spirals into economic chaos under President Nicolas Maduro, workers are cutting down the dead debris of once lush groves of towering moriche palms. Over a third of its palm tree species have died in the last few years, staff said.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

A volunteer of a group, helping with maintenance works, carries a piece of tree at the botanical garden. As the once-wealthy country spirals into economic chaos under President Nicolas Maduro, workers are cutting down the dead debris of once lush...more

A volunteer of a group, helping with maintenance works, carries a piece of tree at the botanical garden. As the once-wealthy country spirals into economic chaos under President Nicolas Maduro, workers are cutting down the dead debris of once lush groves of towering moriche palms. Over a third of its palm tree species have died in the last few years, staff said. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
4 / 19
A vandalized car is seen in the herbarium. "Even the cactuses need water though people don't believe it," Jan Tillett, who has looked after the gardens' nurseries for 15 years, said, standing by the dried-up lagoon.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

A vandalized car is seen in the herbarium. "Even the cactuses need water though people don't believe it," Jan Tillett, who has looked after the gardens' nurseries for 15 years, said, standing by the dried-up lagoon. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A vandalized car is seen in the herbarium. "Even the cactuses need water though people don't believe it," Jan Tillett, who has looked after the gardens' nurseries for 15 years, said, standing by the dried-up lagoon. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
5 / 19
A flowering water lily is seen in a greenhouse. Crumbling infrastructure and lack of investments have hit Venezuela's water supply for years but dwindling rains in recent months have exacerbated the situation. In Caracas, locals queue for hours to fill up bottles and hospital patients have to bring their own water.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

A flowering water lily is seen in a greenhouse. Crumbling infrastructure and lack of investments have hit Venezuela's water supply for years but dwindling rains in recent months have exacerbated the situation. In Caracas, locals queue for hours to...more

A flowering water lily is seen in a greenhouse. Crumbling infrastructure and lack of investments have hit Venezuela's water supply for years but dwindling rains in recent months have exacerbated the situation. In Caracas, locals queue for hours to fill up bottles and hospital patients have to bring their own water. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
6 / 19
Dead palm trees are seen at the botanical garden. The gardens have a miniscule annual budget of 200 million bolivars, just $66 at the black market exchange rate, staff said, adding they have petitioned the government for more resources.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Dead palm trees are seen at the botanical garden. The gardens have a miniscule annual budget of 200 million bolivars, just $66 at the black market exchange rate, staff said, adding they have petitioned the government for more...more

Dead palm trees are seen at the botanical garden. The gardens have a miniscule annual budget of 200 million bolivars, just $66 at the black market exchange rate, staff said, adding they have petitioned the government for more resources. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
7 / 19
The gardens' largest lake (pictured), built in the shape of Venezuela and covered in giant flowering water lilies, is half empty. One of the lake's prized species has died out: the 2-meter wide Santa Cruz water lily, so buoyant it can support a child's weight.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

The gardens' largest lake (pictured), built in the shape of Venezuela and covered in giant flowering water lilies, is half empty. One of the lake's prized species has died out: the 2-meter wide Santa Cruz water lily, so buoyant it can support a...more

The gardens' largest lake (pictured), built in the shape of Venezuela and covered in giant flowering water lilies, is half empty. One of the lake's prized species has died out: the 2-meter wide Santa Cruz water lily, so buoyant it can support a child's weight. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
8 / 19
Although the gardens have received donations of water tanks and volunteer help, Tillett said it was harder every day to maintain the park. Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Although the gardens have received donations of water tanks and volunteer help, Tillett said it was harder every day to maintain the park. Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Although the gardens have received donations of water tanks and volunteer help, Tillett said it was harder every day to maintain the park. Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
9 / 19
Partially dried Bromeliads leaves are seen in a greenhouse. Last year, looters stripped the gardens of their electric cables, computers and irrigation pipes, making it impossible to maintain the rare aquatic plants groundskeepers were growing in a specially designed greenhouse, staff said. 

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Partially dried Bromeliads leaves are seen in a greenhouse. Last year, looters stripped the gardens of their electric cables, computers and irrigation pipes, making it impossible to maintain the rare aquatic plants groundskeepers were growing in a...more

Partially dried Bromeliads leaves are seen in a greenhouse. Last year, looters stripped the gardens of their electric cables, computers and irrigation pipes, making it impossible to maintain the rare aquatic plants groundskeepers were growing in a specially designed greenhouse, staff said. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
10 / 19
The remains of the Venezuelan National Guard post. Looters even stole the walls and roofs from guard houses.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

The remains of the Venezuelan National Guard post. Looters even stole the walls and roofs from guard houses. REUTERS/Marco Bello

The remains of the Venezuelan National Guard post. Looters even stole the walls and roofs from guard houses. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
11 / 19
Books that belonged to Swiss-born geographer and botanist Henri Pittier are seen in the herbarium. The gardens also include Venezuela's national herbarium. This contains samples of 450,000 plant species across the country, which now cannot be adequately stored given the lack of electricity, said its curator, Naida Avendano.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Books that belonged to Swiss-born geographer and botanist Henri Pittier are seen in the herbarium. The gardens also include Venezuela's national herbarium. This contains samples of 450,000 plant species across the country, which now cannot be...more

Books that belonged to Swiss-born geographer and botanist Henri Pittier are seen in the herbarium. The gardens also include Venezuela's national herbarium. This contains samples of 450,000 plant species across the country, which now cannot be adequately stored given the lack of electricity, said its curator, Naida Avendano. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
12 / 19
Dead palm trees are seen at the botanical garden. "There's no money," Avendano said. "But we still haven't stopped working, so that the garden doesn't die." 

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Dead palm trees are seen at the botanical garden. "There's no money," Avendano said. "But we still haven't stopped working, so that the garden doesn't die." REUTERS/Marco Bello

Dead palm trees are seen at the botanical garden. "There's no money," Avendano said. "But we still haven't stopped working, so that the garden doesn't die." REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
13 / 19
A broken fence is seen in a greenhouse. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A broken fence is seen in a greenhouse. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A broken fence is seen in a greenhouse. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
14 / 19
A dried-up lagoon is seen at the entrance of the botanical garden. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A dried-up lagoon is seen at the entrance of the botanical garden. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A dried-up lagoon is seen at the entrance of the botanical garden. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
15 / 19
Water lilies are seen in a half empty lagoon built in the shape of Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Water lilies are seen in a half empty lagoon built in the shape of Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Water lilies are seen in a half empty lagoon built in the shape of Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
16 / 19
Partially dried Bromeliads leaves are seen in a greenhouse. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Partially dried Bromeliads leaves are seen in a greenhouse. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Partially dried Bromeliads leaves are seen in a greenhouse. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
17 / 19
A flowering water lily is seen in a half-empty lagoon built in the shape of Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A flowering water lily is seen in a half-empty lagoon built in the shape of Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A flowering water lily is seen in a half-empty lagoon built in the shape of Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
18 / 19
A Venezuelan National Guard member walks at the entrance of the botanical garden. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A Venezuelan National Guard member walks at the entrance of the botanical garden. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A Venezuelan National Guard member walks at the entrance of the botanical garden. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Close
19 / 19

Next Slideshows

The surface of Mars

What the Red Planet looks like up close.

Jul 25 2018

Wildfires rage near Athens

The death toll from a fire which ripped through a Greek coastal town stood at 80 on Wednesday, with dozens of people unaccounted for.

Jul 25 2018

Pakistan votes in cliffhanger election

Pakistanis vote in a knife-edge general election pitting cricket hero Imran Khan against the party of jailed ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Jul 25 2018

Deadly mass shooting in Toronto

A gunman opened fire on a Toronto street filled with people in restaurants, killing two people and injuring 13 others, authorities said.

Jul 23 2018

MORE IN PICTURES

Deadly bridge collapse in Italy

Deadly bridge collapse in Italy

A 50-meter-high section of a motorway bridge crashed down onto warehouses, train tracks and a riverbed in Genoa, killing at least 39 people.

The plight of Italy's African laborers

The plight of Italy's African laborers

Two recent fatal crashes, resulting in the deaths of 16 migrant workers, have brought into focus the dire working and living conditions imposed on thousands of migrant farmhands whose cut-price labor allows Italy to be one of the biggest fruit and vegetable exporters in Europe.

Off-the-grid nightmare at New Mexico compound

Off-the-grid nightmare at New Mexico compound

Five adults face child abuse charges after authorities raided their ramshackle homestead in New Mexico and found the body of a young boy and 11 more children described by authorities as starving and ragged.

Remembering the East Coast blackout

Remembering the East Coast blackout

The 2003 East Coast blackout, caused by a few benign tree branches, plunged 50 million into darkness and laid bare the vulnerabilities of an aging electric grid in the most populous region of the United States.

Car hits pedestrians outside UK parliament

Car hits pedestrians outside UK parliament

A man deliberately drove a car into pedestrians and cyclists before ramming it into barriers outside Britain's parliament in what appeared to be the second terrorism attack on the building in just under 18 months, police said.

A day at the state fair

A day at the state fair

Spending a summer day at the state fair, from New Jersey to Iowa.

North and South Korean workers hold soccer friendly

North and South Korean workers hold soccer friendly

South Korean labor unions welcomed a North Korean delegation of workers for a friendly soccer match with their southern counterparts in Seoul.

Korean pop culture in L.A. spotlight

Korean pop culture in L.A. spotlight

Tens of thousands of fans celebrate Korean pop, or K-pop, at the 7th annual KCON convention in Los Angeles.

Trump's show of military strength

Trump's show of military strength

President Donald Trump watched an air assault demonstration at Fort Drum in upstate New York before signing a $716-billion defense policy bill that authorizes military spending and includes watered-down controls on U.S. government contracts with China's ZTE and Huawei Technologies.

Trending Collections

Pictures

Podcast