The theme of the "Global City" has been widely discussed at conferences and urban forums. Global slums, the result of transnational economies and the neo-liberal economic policies of industrialized nations, have been overlooked.

Caracas is experiencing some of the same urban developments and problems that occurred in Europe 200 years ago. Ongoing statistical research shows that living conditions in the Latin American metropolis are better than ever before, despite incredibly threatening living conditions and a generally much lower standard of living than in the developed world. Homicide rates, up to 100 cases per weekend in the metropolitan area of Caracas, suggest a war scenario unimaginable to most people outside of this city.

It is the moral responsibility of the First World to assist in the democratization and development of the Third World megacities that its global economic policies create. Partnerships between cities in developed and developing nations could be formed to discuss and propose constructive new urban strategies. This would close the gap between top-down and bottom-up efforts, such as the United Nations' Habitat Conference in June 2001, that have had little tangible effect on the lives of Caracas' inhabitants.

We believe that these direct partnerships could foster positive growth that will empower and connect cultures, and could disseminate the knowledge to transcend the existing barriers between global cities and global slums.