Latin America & Caribbean

El Helicoide: From Shopping Mall to Prison


Reporter/Producer: Karenina Velandia

Director/Designer: Charlie Newland

Producer: Kelvin Brown

Executive Producer: Jenny Norton

UX Designers: Alice Grenié and Cecilia Tombesi

Interactive 360 consultation: Ben Fogarty (Holoscribe, founder & CEO)

Additional Camera: Omar García


Celeste Olalquiaga, director of and co-editor, with Lisa Blackmore, of Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison (2018).

Archivo Fotografía Urbana.


Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela, David Smolansky, Diana López, González family, Getty.

Source material

The Organization of American States, Human Right Watch, Amnesty International, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, International Monetary Fund, United Nations, Foro Penal, Justicia y Proceso, Una Ventana a la Libertad.

Special thanks to Celeste Olalquiaga, the detainees and their families, the solicitors, and the human rights activists who supported this investigation.

On the making of El Helicoide

The scenes depicted in this story were recreated based on descriptions given by interviewees, archive material or recent images shared from inside the prison.

Some details, including several names, have been changed to protect the identity of those interviewed.

All detainees who were interviewed as a part of this investigation have since been released. Several of them have left Venezuela.