In fact, Paz was born Rodrigo León Duque on April 12, 1979, in the bustling Colombian city of Santiago de Cali. He grew up in a spacious condo with its own swimming pool in a posh neighborhood called Chipichape, centered around a swank shopping center. His family owned most of the shops as well as a private Catholic school called Colegio León de Greiff, which he attended for seven years.

"Rodrigo always seemed different," says his mother, Alba Acosta, a lawyer in Cali. "He was always extremely developed intellectually. Even then he was a very tranquil person... He seemed to belong to the spiritual world."

Rodrigo's father, Orlando Duque, was a shrewd businessman and a conservative member of the Colombian House of Representatives. "He was very militant," Acosta says of her husband. "What he said, went. But Rodrigo wasn't like that. He wanted to do what he wanted to do."

Alba watched as her son grew odder with age. By the time he was a teenager, he had withdrawn from most of his friends. When he went off to college in Bogotá, his parents bought him an apartment in the capital. It was the height of the Colombian drug war, and kidnappings were rampant. But Rodrigo spent his nights walking around the city with homeless car washers, talking about spirituality. He began skipping his classes. Soon he dropped out of school altogether.

Orlando was furious. "My husband suffered a lot," Acosta says, "always thinking that he was a failure because his son hadn't finished his degree."

Their relationship only got worse when Rodrigo left Colombia to backpack around the world. The 20-year-old bounced from Colombia to Ecuador, Mexico to Cuba, and then jumped the Atlantic and toured Europe, crashing on strangers' couches. Finally, Rodrigo landed in New York City in 2000. He found work in construction.

But a year after he arrived in NYC, Rodrigo's mother called him with terrifying news: His father had been leaving a business meeting in Cali when masked men with machine guns grabbed him. Eight days later, members of the FARC guerrilla group demanded $250,000.

"It was horrible, horrible, horrible," Acosta remembers. She wired the money, but the FARC didn't release Orlando. After she paid a second time, her husband was dumped on the outskirts of Cali. Alive.

Orlando's near-death experience changed him. He was quieter and prayed more. At first, the experience also brought father and son closer. But immigration issues prevented Rodrigo from returning home to see his shaken father. Soon, Orlando was his brash, business-minded self again, and the rift between Rodrigo and him grew wider than ever.

"My husband fought and worked his whole life for his businesses, but Rodrigo thought that was wrong," Acosta says. "He thought people shouldn't have private property because the Earth belonged to God."

In a last-ditch attempt to make something of his son, Orlando began buying properties in Miami, where Rodrigo had married a pretty young Colombian named Juanita Pelaez. In 2005, the elder Duque bought a rundown, 52-unit apartment building on NW Seventh Street in Overtown for $1.6 million. He signed the deed over to his son and Pelaez as a wedding gift.

A few years later, Orlando suddenly developed a lung condition. He died during surgery in 2008. It deeply affected Rodrigo, who couldn't attend the funeral. Instead, he said goodbye to Juanita and their 2-year-old daughter Cielo. Wearing a white tunic, he set off on foot from Miami Beach up the coast of Florida.

For nearly two months, he slept on the street, next to gas station toilets, under semi trucks, and in drainage canals. "A snake or gator could have come out any time," he says. "God says, 'Trust me.' So I did."

The journey finally ended in Jesup, Georgia, where Rodrigo befriended an elderly blind woman. With his last $6, he took her out to eat Chinese food. "She hadn't eaten at a restaurant in six years," he says. Three days later, his wife bought him a train ticket back to Miami.

That's where he was on September 17 of last year when thousands of protesters began assembling in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. It was the moment Rodrigo had been waiting for: a peaceful gathering of people to talk about and fight against greed and materialism.

But Juanita was pregnant with twins. She refused to let Rodrigo travel to New York. So a few weeks later, when several hundred local protesters convened on Government Center downtown, it was like a sign from above. Occupy Miami was born. Rodrigo immediately set up a tent of his own, sleeping most nights in the chaotic camp and driving home each morning.

"He was the one who nominated that the camp be called Peace City," says Arianna Uguccioni, an Italian woman who left her job as a restaurant manager to organize the Government Center protesters. "He was always encouraging people to love one another."

When Miami-Dade Police prohibited gas generators, Paz bought one powered by bicycle. Later, he brought expensive solar panels to charge cell phones and laptops (at least, until the panels were stolen). When cops shut down the camp's kitchen, he allowed protesters to cook food in his apartment building nearby in Overtown. After three years of managing the building, he finally felt like he had a purpose.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
102 comments
Stacey95962173
Stacey95962173

my best friend's aunt brought home $19599 last month. she been working on the laptop and got a $473700 condo. All she did was get fortunate and put into action the steps exposed on this link ...MakeCash10.com

Stacey95962173
Stacey95962173

my buddy's step-sister made $12239 a month ago. she is making cash on the internet and bought a $389000 home. All she did was get lucky and work up the information reported on this web site MakeCash10.comONLY

Dashark
Dashark

Occupy Mov. is Obama owned and operated by ACORN.Another huge Obama FAIL

Aria Anderson
Aria Anderson

Even though not everybody will agree, I have learn that everything is nothing but the mirror of our-self.With that said, I can only feel sorry for the writer of this story, since the only things he could see are negatives, he must have some deep issue inside of him.When I go there, I see happy kids involve with sign making, neighbor showing solidarity and a lot of good people working on making positive changes into the neighborhood and society.

PerryLuis21
PerryLuis21

My best friend's sister made $19668 the prior week. she has been making cash on the laptop and got a $424600 house. All she did was get fortunate and set to work the directions explained on this site

PerryLuis21
PerryLuis21

My best friend's sister made $19668 the prior week. she has been making cash on the laptop and got a $424600 house. All she did was get fortunate and set to work the directions explained on this site >>>> LazyCash1.com

Odel Gauri
Odel Gauri

Look for "Peace City" on youtube by mediafish...

the feeled
the feeled

This building needs to be condemned before someone dies in there. Don "Peace" is a nutcase who wants to live like a homeless with no responsibilities. Whining communists living in a capitalist society...occupy the crap you're sitting in somewhere else.

weaponartist
weaponartist

all the lonely people /// where do they all come from???

dario
dario

I don't think there is much new in this story: there are divisions in this movement, protesters are evicted from public grounds then, someone of means invites protesters to private property. This has happened in other places around the country. It's also no surprise that protesters are generally unruly, tend to sprawl their messages everywhere, experiment, and are not averse to illicit drugs. We should look at Occupy Miami's accomplishments and failures, then apply them to our own actions.

runrandrand
runrandrand

WHAT AN EXCITING AND JOYFUL TIME TO BE ALIVE! THE PEOPLE AND NEWS AND ECONOMY AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS----ALLLL DOIN' ABSOLUTELY NUTHIN'!!!!!

runrandrand
runrandrand

MIAMI TAXPAYERS AND WORKERS DESCEND INTO BLACK MARKETS AND DRUGS----JUST TO PAY THE BILLS---

let's dance
let's dance

Is he a legal resident of this country, or does his money make him the man?

let's dance
let's dance

This might be the reason his father sent him to america, to get rid of him knowing he is off the rocker. Make as many people as you can join you, is what the father may have told him, CRAZY.

Oskar Papo
Oskar Papo

well...Is Colombia , uneducated dumb ass

sarpedon1
sarpedon1

There is nothing worse than a brain-dead, middle-aged parasite, who thinks he's a philosopher. I have no doubt that what the Occupoops are leaving on the walls and sidewalks is more profound than anything coming out Paz's mouth.

I'm afraid I'd be suing Mr. Paz were I one of his tenants...

He needs to go back to Columbia and give them the benefit of his wisdom.

Floooob
Floooob

Wrong. It was a STUPID IDEA from the beginning.

Only a NAIVE POLLYANNA LIBTARD would think it was "beautiful".

Also, the "true revolutionists" in Egypt & Tunisia, etc. are a bunch of PRIMITIVE ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALIST ASSHOLES.

EAT SHIT AND DIE, YOU NAIVE LIBTARD.

Floooob
Floooob

"My battle is for Peace City. And Peace City is people."

And people are STUPID.

Floooob
Floooob

"A teenager with an Afro the size of a beachball plays a didjeridoo over a Gorillaz tune blaring from a cell phone."

This is truly the most horrifying part of this article so far.

Floooob
Floooob

""This is a black eye on the Occupy movement," says Shannon Reaze,"

The ENTIRE "occupy movement" is a black eye on the "occupy movement", you stupid bitch.

Floooob
Floooob

"Where's the money?" he yells. "Somebody is pocketing the cash. There should be no corruption inside Occupy Miami. We are supposed to be for the people, not stealing from the people. Some of these people are becoming the 1 percent."

LOL, nauseatingly naive libtard! BWA HAW HAW

Floooob
Floooob

""There are points in time when I've wondered if I really need to be here, if it's worth it. But I'm not a quitter."

No, you are just a DEADBEAT DAD, a LEECH, and a LOSER.

Floooob
Floooob

"They stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning, sleep until noon, and get by on food donated by local churches."

OCCUFAIL LEECHES.

Floooob
Floooob

"This is a system," Steve says one morning, so hung-over that one eye is pasted half shut. "We bring more people and discuss ideas... Eventually, we'll have so many people that the police can't stop us."

AWESOME DUDE, COOL STORY BRO

Drink some more corporate booze and smoke some more corporate cigs in the meantime while you wait for the Glorious Revolution, dipshit.

Floooob
Floooob

"His girlfriend isn't in Peace City, he says, because she's detoxing from a heroin addiction. They have a baby girl, who's being raised by his parents. "

Like I wrote just a minute ago, STEREOTYPICAL OCCUFAIL LOSERS!

Filthy drug-addicted LEECHES who are TOO FUCKING STUPID to realize how HYPOCRITICAL they really are!

Floooob
Floooob

"it would come to represent the best of the movement."

No, it represents the stereotypical WORST of the "movement", a bunch of retarded drug-addicted losers leeching off of the wealthy.

OCCUFAIL LOL

Floooob
Floooob

Why do the occutard occufail hypocrites smoke corporate cigarettes like fucking chimneys?

Floooob
Floooob

"Later, he brought expensive solar panels to charge cell phones and laptops (at least, until the panels were stolen)"

LOL OCCUFAIL

Floooob
Floooob

"It deeply affected Rodrigo, who couldn't attend the funeral. Instead, he said goodbye to Juanita and their 2-year-old daughter Cielo."

= ILLEGAL ALIEN, DEADBEAT DAD.

Floooob
Floooob

"But immigration issues prevented Rodrigo from returning home to see his shaken father."

= Paz is an ILLEGAL ALIEN.

Floooob
Floooob

"Paz, though, says Peace City will change the world. "This is our Zion, our Jerusalem," he says. "It is the place of the righteous.""

What an ABSOLUTE DUMBFUCK DIPSHIT.

janinec
janinec

You see...this is just an example of human nature taking over. Leftists always have these grand ideas of utopia and they sound wonderful...but they NEVER take into consideration human nature and human behavior. That is why socialism and communism do NOT work. When you put human nature into the equation, it always self-destructs.

MayoYvette22
MayoYvette22

@Alberta ṁy claśśṁate'ś aunt Ṁakeś $76/ĥour on tĥe internet. Śĥe ĥaś been Witĥout Work for 9 ṁontĥś but laśt Ṁontĥ ĥer pay Waś $8817 juśt Working on tĥe internet for a feW ĥourś. Ŕeaď Ṁore ĥere ...LazyCash1.com

MayoYvette22
MayoYvette22

Ṁy buďďy'ś śtep-ṁotĥer Ṁakeś $82 every ĥour on tĥe coṁputer. Śĥe ĥaś been uneṁployeď for 9 Ṁontĥś but laśt Ṁontĥ ĥer cĥeck Waś $7938 juśt Working on tĥe coṁputer for a feW ĥourś. ĥere'ś tĥe śite to Ŕeaď Ṁore >> LazyCash1.com

ALBERTA
ALBERTA

@Ltdevon5 my classmate's ŝiŝteŕ-in-lāẁ bŕóught in $18411 lāst ẁeeḱ. ŝhe is māḱing an incóme on the cómputeŕ and móved in a $531900 cóndó. All she did was get fórtunāte and woŕḱ up the advice ŝhówn on thiŝ link..MakeCash2.com

Sparky5253
Sparky5253

Next up will be a hippie jam fest and drum circle!

Tell It Like It Is
Tell It Like It Is

Duque, aka Paz, is obviously off his rocker. In my partialy educated opinion, he is bipolar.

Skydvr77
Skydvr77

If they all just got jobs there would be nothing to write about...so keep up the good work we wouldn't want to stop paying for your welfare, childcare, section 8, food programs, and just generally having to pick up the tab of laziness. That's the america I know and the one these "protesters" love.

Ltdevon5
Ltdevon5

its the same as it always was - just a bunch of dirty hippies. At least they are in their own little sh*t-smeared corner now

tklo
tklo

@Dashark  you dumb

Phil Ünder
Phil Ünder

Was it really necessary for you to comment so many times? Especially when you spew infantile drivel?

Phil Ünder
Phil Ünder

Flooob, not that your username would lead me tho give you the benefit of the doubt but, are you capable of critical thought? .. Or is it safer to wade in monosyllabic bliss?

nanook5
nanook5

i actually miss when it was that simple.

 
Miami Concert Tickets
Loading...