This week’s “Game Changer” on Americas Now is an artist of all trades. Daniel “El Topo” Rivero is helping bring beauty to a structure that hasn’t had the best reputation.
According to some, David’s Tower is the largest occupied building in the world. It is the third largest construction in Venezuela and one of the tallest buildings in Latin America. It is a building that was meant to be an economic and financial center, with a hotel and retailers…but was never finished.
Now David’s Tower is a place people look at with anger and some say should even be bombed. El Topo says this place is occupied by poor working class people. Some say that people who lived there should be kicked out, but El Topo disagrees. “These people have worked hard for what they had. They took the skeleton of the failed economy of Venezuela and have made it their home…I respect that.”
El Topo is teaching young residents of David’s Tower and is using the building as a place to create. “They want to embellish their spaces, owned what they called their building, their homes,” he says. It started when El Topo arrived to the tower with a proposal to paint some murals.
Young people started organizing their fellow residents to join El Topo and create art. They called themselves the painting squad. Francisco Ruiz, a David’s Tower resident, said he was very impressed with El Topo’s work. “I got interested in what he did. It was something productive.” Ruiz says the reason why he and his friends are participating is because “we want a beautiful building.”
Sociologist, Héctor Sánchez says communities where murals were painted on saw crime levels drop. “We reduced the issue of juvenile crime practically to zero because the mothers, brothers and cousins, all in the family were involved.”
El Topo says he feels privileged to work with the young kids, and how receptive they are to him. “They absorb everything I tell them. And what they see they try to duplicate it. For me as a muralist, that is very good.”
Francisco Ruiz says by encouraging other youths to participate in creating a beautiful building, it
will encourage future generations. “So in the future if we continue to live here and we have children, they can see what we are doing for our community and get involved in other places.”
Daniel El Topo Rivero Game ChangerThis week’s “Game Changer” on Americas Now is an artist of all trades. Daniel “El Topo” Rivero is helping bring beauty to a structure that hasn’t had the best reputation.