Longform

Occupy Miami descends into drugs and chaos in an Overtown apartment building

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Police declined to comment on the raid or the legality of Peace City. As long as Paz owns the building, it's not clear they can do much about what's going on inside.

Meanwhile, Odho and her neighbors are saving money to move out, convinced that their landlord has lost his mind. They aren't alone in thinking so: Paz's own family worries that his revolutionary movement is slowly but surely ruining his life.

"Many people think he's crazy," says Alba Acosta, Paz's mother, speaking on the phone from Colombia. "We took him to a psychologist to determine if he's crazy. But it's difficult. Someone who is crazy is not going to admit it. He knows what he's doing. But he's not living in the real world."

She continues her lament: "He needs psychological help. He has three kids that he has to support. Instead, he spends all his time looking after these homeless people."

Contrary to Odho's claims, Paz doesn't have a mansion in West Palm Beach. He isn't sitting on millions. Since his tenants stopped paying, his mother has had to wire him money so he can pay his own rent for a small apartment in Miami Lakes.

"Of course I was worried, but what can I do?" Acosta says. "More than anything, I'm worried about my grandchildren. They are the real miracle. But in his mind, the only miracle he sees is Peace City."

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.