Keep in mind as you read this, that the people behind this dystopian nightmare think they have all the answers for our society, and their movement has been blessed by high ranking Democrats.
For three years, this has been Charane Odho’s neighborhood. It’s poor and imperfect, the 37-year-old grandma with pale skin, dark tattoos, and raven hair admits — but it’s home nonetheless. Suddenly, however, it’s occupied.
“It’s like we live in a huge crack house now!” Odho says. She points a long manicured fingernail at brown smears on her apartment complex’s yellow paint. “They poop on the walls,” she says, stifling a gag as she steps over stinking piles on the pavement. “They poop in the back of the building and wipe themselves with socks… Who are these people? We don’t know who the hell they are.”
Welcome to phase two of Occupy Miami. Protesters call it “Peace City.” Locals call it a living hell.
They arrived the last day of January: young and old; black, white, and brown; clean-cut professionals and grimy gutter punks. Their tents and lean-tos once clogged a lawn outside county hall like a South American favela. Now they have overtaken Odho’s Overtown apartment building, ripping off doors, tagging the building with black and red graffiti, and hanging posters from the railings. Yet there is little the cops, let alone Odho, can do. The squatters didn’t invade. They were invited.
After the police shut down their tent city on January 31, the Overtown apartment building’s landlord, a gentleman who calls himself, “Senior Paz” – “Mr. Peace” invited them to squat in his building.
For the occupiers, it was a miracle: a haven from the police and a place to plan their campaign against corruption and fat-cat corporations. Paz was their savior.
But for the building’s rent-paying tenants, Paz has unleashed a nightmare in Overtown. The squatters blast loud music late at night, openly use drugs, and regularly wage drunken fights with one another. And though Paz claims he is trying to save the neighborhood from crime, tenants say he is to blame for the violence and narcotics. Some residents have begun to fight back against their unwanted neighbors. Tensions are boiling.
Across the nation, the Occupy movement is reeling from evictions and arrests. But the Overtown encampment is a one-of-a-kind experiment. It could either save or scupper Miami’s own uprising. Some protesters say it has given them a black eye and have tried to distance the movement from Peace City. Others insist it’s the strategic headquarters they need to wage a war on inequality this summer — if city officials don’t condemn the collapsing structure first. And at the center of the controversy looms the mysterious Mr. Peace.
“He’s on drugs,” Odho says of Paz. “He’s high out of his mind. He’s letting them totally destroy our building. Pretty soon, nobody is going to be able to live here.”
Paz, though, says Peace City will change the world. “This is our Zion, our Jerusalem,” he says. “It is the place of the righteous.”
Finish reading at Miami New Times News.
Here is an interview of Senior Paz after the police raided Occupy Miami’s Overtown headquarters March 13.