Surely these headlines sound familiar to you: “Mafia boss arrested”. “Hit the mafia, the State wins.” Perhaps he is thinking of some, the same or similar, that he has read this week, after the arrest of boss mobster Matteo Messina Denaro. And she is not wrong. But those two in particular are from April 12, 2006. The day before the police had arrested Bernardo Provenzano, at that time the highest authority of Cosa Nostra, organized crime based in Sicily. He too, like Messina Denaro and the other chiefs arrested after years of searching, was hiding on his land. Like Messina Denaro, Provenzano didn’t try to run when he was found by the police. He just said, “Yes, it’s me.”
Morto a papa ne fa a altro, it is said in Italy. When the head of the Mafia boss jumps, it’s because that head can jump. Because the organization is already moving on its own, or through other schemes, through clues that the police may already have on the radar —or perhaps not. When there are no major attacks, when there are no spectacular arrests or police operations, the Mafia does not exist.
The Mafia does not exist every day that it is not talked about. The police account of the decade-long investigation to arrest Messina Denaro contains a clue: “Surely a large part of the bourgeoisie helped him in recent years ”, agents write. After Provenzano’s arrest in 2006, the anti-mafia prosecutor explained that the godfather’s long flight had been favored by “entrepreneurs, technicians, professionals and politicians.”
When reference is made to the omerta, that shutting up before the questions of strangers to avoid problemss, it is easy to visualize the image of an older gentleman, cap pulled over his eyes, hands one over the other on top of the walking stick, who answers into a microphone: “Niente vidi, niente sacciuI haven’t seen anything and I don’t know anything. We don’t usually think of professionals and entrepreneurs, nor do we look for them with cameras.
The Mafia uses instrumental companies in Europe, companies offshorebanks in opaque jurisdictions, lawyers in Luxembourg, notaries, property registrars, financial experts and any other useful channel for their gigantic laundering of black money to work: 38,000 million euros in annual turnover, according to the Bank of Italy (to understand the amount, it is equivalent to the GDP of a region like the Canary Islands). Use what our legal system makes available to you. As Enzo Ciconte, an expert on the Sicilian Mafia, has recalled, Messina Denaro has not been linked for years to the great massacres but to the expansion of the wind sector in Sicily, where it has made enormous profits: “We must forget the Mafia of [Totó] Riin or Provenzano. The Mafia is now the one doing business with the companies in northern Italy.”
That is why it does not exist, because it is almost impossible to identify it, to separate it from the world in which it moves, which is none other than ours.
One who knew this well was a 30-year-old journalist named Peppino Impastato. He lived in Cinisi, 30 kilometers from Palermo. They killed him (after killing his father) on May 9, 1978 because from his local radio station he gave names and surnames to the entrepreneurs and mafia bosses in the area: “The Mafia kills and silence, too”, he said. As he recalls a film about the life of Impastato, between his house and that of Gaetano Badalamenti, the gangster who sent him, there were only a hundred steps away.
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