Press reports suggest the eviction was done at the behest of the Chinese. Apparently, the building was being eyed as a future headquarters for the Bank of China, and the Venezuelan government is deeply beholden to Chinese interests, particularly in light of generous loans flowing from Beijing to Caracas. If this is true, one has to wonder why the Chinese picked that tower in particular as headquarters for its many Venezuelan interests. Many office buildings in Venezuela have plenty of room. Companies are leaving the country thanks to severe currency restrictions and a deteriorating business climate, and supply is probably outstripping demand.
The answer is in the symbolism. The Tower [of David] lies at the heart of Caracas’s banking district, and as such it was an eyesore, a blatant reminder of the failed promises of the Bolivarian revolution. The Chinese probably viewed this as unacceptable, and they may have wanted to test the government’s resolve in solving politically sensitive problems such as evicting thousands of squatters — many of them chavista supporters – from the middle of the city. It remains to be seen whether or not they will succeed – so far, only 25 percent of the tower’s inhabitants have left the building.
Previous Dish on the Tower of David here. Photo by Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images.