Fans of the hit show Homeland got a glimpse this week of the notorious Tower of David in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. Without giving away any significant spoilers, we’ll reveal that the show’s fictional lead character finds himself living in the building that in real life is home to an estimated 2,500 people — all there illegally in the eyes of the government.
If you’re a fan of Homeland or just have a general interest in development (and since you’re reading BuzzBuzzHome News, we assume that you do), we think you’ll agree that the story behind the failed project is as gripping as any episode of the Emmy-winning drama.
The project was named for and financed by David Brillembourg in the early 1990s before being shelved in 1994 in the wake of the Venezuelan banking crisis. The government quickly took possession of the unfinished building and remained in control until 2007 when squatters, upset with the country’s ongoing housing crisis, forced their way in and began an indefinite occupation.
Today what you’ll find inside, as Nicholas Brody did during Sunday’s episode of Homeland, is a sort of off-the-grid community that has its own economy and businesses, including a barber shop and an illegal dental clinic. Residents climb the elevator-less tower by motorcycle and by stairs while jury-rigged plumbing and electrical systems fill in for a complete lack of basic building amenities. A number of the balconies are even adorned in satellite dishes, so it’s not out of the question that some people living in the building will learn that their home has been immortalized by American cable television.
Officials say Tower of David is rife with violence, but as you’ll see in the seven-minute documentary below, many residents paint it as a relatively safe and inclusive place to live. Indeed, it is the only home many Venezuelans have ever known.