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Skyscraper Slum’ Squatters Evicted From Home

Image: People wait inside the Tower of David
People wait inside the Tower of David, an abandoned skyscraper in Caracas originally intended to be an office building that became a 'vertical slum', before being evicited on July 22, 2014. The government began the eviciton and relocation of hundreds of families that were illegally occupying the building. AFP PHOTO/FEDERICO PARRAFEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images FEDERICO PARRA / AFP - Getty Images

Venezuelan soldiers and officials began moving hundreds of families on Tuesday out of a half-built 45-story skyscraper that dominates the Caracas skyline and is thought to be the world's tallest slum.

The mass eviction from the "Tower of David", originally intended to be a bank center but abandoned since 1994 and later home to some 3,000 needy Venezuelans, proceeded peacefully.

"Necessity brought me here, and the tower gave me a good home," said Yuraima Parra, 27, cradling her baby daughter as soldiers loaded her possessions into a truck before dawn.

"I was here for seven years. I'm going to miss it, but it's time to move on."

Image: Evicted resident of Tower of David Maria Davila and her parrot Coti sit in a bus which will transport them to their new home in Caracas
Maria Davila and her parrot Coti sit in a bus which will transport them to their new home in Caracas on July 22, 2014. JORGE SILVA / Reuters

Residents were going to new homes in the town of Cua, south of Caracas, under the state's Great Housing Mission project - a flagship policy of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

Nicknamed after its developer, the financier and horse-breeder David Brillembourg, the Tower of David was viewed by many Caracas residents as a focus for crime gangs and a symbol of property "invasions" encouraged in the Chavez era.

Residents, though, said the building became a refuge from the city's crime-ridden 'barrios' and had turned into something of a model commune.

Inside there was evidence of hyper-organization everywhere: corridors were polished daily; squatters who had first arrived in tents then partitioned spaces into well-kept apartments; work schedules, rules and admonitions plastered the walls.

— Reuters