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The Two Faces Of Miami on JMAN.tv - The Best Documentaries... Instantly On Demand

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The Two Faces Of Miami Length: 52mins
Published: 1 Jul, 2008
It’s the playground of the rich and famous. The city that most embodies the excessiveness of the American dream. Every night in Miami, the beautiful people come out to play. But look beyond the glitz and glamour, the opulent parties and notorious nightlife. A few streets away, the walls are pock marked with bullet holes. Welcome to the hidden side of Miami.

“This is the place to be”, boasts a Canadian businessman. He moved to Miami because; “the only way to have success in life is going where the action is”. Here, beauty, glamour and money are the keys that open wide every door. “Within five years, this place is going to be like New York”, states one resident. Spending every afternoon by the pool is all “part of the Miami lifestyle”.

For the rich and beautiful, there is one cop for every four inhabitants. The wealthy barricade themselves behind walled communities, watched over by the best security systems available. In communities like Indian Creek, there have only been three minor crimes in the last ten years. “Still…you are never secure enough”, states a local policeman. Even the lifts require fingerprint recognition.

It’s a world away from the district of Opa Locka, the most dangerous neighbourhood in the city. Here, police struggle to cope with at least five murder cases every week. “There are a lot of shootings on this corner”, states a police officer, pointing at a wall pock marked with bullet holes. On average one child dies every other week.

In the past ten years, real estate prices in Miami have increased sevenfold, creating a genuine housing crises. Sickened by the growing gulf between rich and poor, groups of activists have started occupying abandoned homes. Unlike squatters, these activists clean the houses and then hand them over to rough sleepers. Max, the organiser of such a move, insists, “Housing is a human right”. No matter though how noble his intentions are, the police are not impressed. He ends up spending the night in jail.

As inequality increases, the victims of gang violence are becoming younger and younger. The body of a 14-year-old boy is found in a trash can. It’s the last straw, especially for the black community. It triggers an unprecedented demonstration across town. “Where are the leaders?” shouts an angry woman, demanding the violence end.

When the murderers are finally caught, they turn out to be the same age as their victim. It was a drug deal gone wrong. Miami, the city of the young and beautiful, is fast becoming one of the most dangerous places in America.

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