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Alvaro Ybarra Zavala


Squatter City

Spring 2011 | Essays

Every day, Venezuelan newspapers across the political spectrum publish front-page articles on the most recent invasiones, the illegal occupation of property by squatters. In Caracas, invasions often begin with swift, surreptitious, and sometimes armed overnight raids. In the city's downtown, squatters militantly occupy condemned or vacant buildings, the empty rooms suddenly packed with families. On the fringes of the city, they descend onto undeveloped land and quickly build rough cinderblock houses, their work spreading out in concentric circles around older, established neighborhoods. Some squatters even set up tents alongside filthy sewage drains or garbage heaps.