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'Tower of David' Slum in Central Caracas May Be Demolished

 / Updated 
A resident waits for transportation to a new home after being evicted from the world’s tallest slum, the Tower of David, a half-built skyscraper that was abandoned in the 1990s and was transformed by squatters into a vertical ghetto, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Officials and armed soldiers began moving out the first of thousands of squatters who have lived for nearly a decade in a soaring, half-built skyscraper in the heart of Caracas.
A resident waits for transportation to a new home after being evicted from the world’s tallest slum, the Tower of David, a half-built skyscraper that was abandoned in the 1990s and was transformed by squatters into a vertical ghetto, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Officials and armed soldiers began moving out the first of thousands of squatters who have lived for nearly a decade in a soaring, half-built skyscraper in the heart of Caracas. Fernando Llano / AP

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An abandoned Caracas skyscraper dubbed the world's tallest shanty-town after a squatters' takeover could be demolished once its inhabitants are out, Venezuela's leader said on Wednesday.

Soldiers and officials began this week moving out the first 160 of more than 1,150 families living inside the 45-story "Tower of David" in central Caracas. They are going to government-provided low-income housing outside the capital. "The Tower of David is famous. It's a symbol of a strange situation, a vertical 'barrio,'" President Nicolas Maduro said. "It was viewed negatively by society. We resolved it, as these things should be resolved, with dialogue and understanding."

Originally intended to be a bank center but left unfinished in 1994, the vast concrete skeleton was viewed by many Venezuelans as a focus for crime and symbol of property "invasions." Police occasionally raided it hunting kidnappers.

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-Reuters

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