Current Status of Italy's Three Mafia Groups

From the website Italy Chronicles, which reports Italian news in English (and is poorly titled, from a grammatical viewpoint), we offer this story regarding the opinions of Father Tonino Dell’Olio, the Roman Catholic priest who runs the international arm of the Italian anti-mafia association Libera.

Father Dell’Olio pulls no punches, saying Italy's media, which regularly touts the defeat of the Mafia, is outright wrong in that the country's Cosa Nostra, Ndrangheta and Camorra all continue to thrive and expand -- and are in fact global entities. Furthermore, he notes that while Italy’s politicians love to tout the huge sums confiscated in asset seizures, the act of taking money and property from mobsters does not diminish the organizations to which they belong.

The following was extracted from a larger story that you can read in its entirety via the hyperlink here: Italy’s Mafia Issue – Is Mafia Power Growing or Diminishing? | Italy Chronicles:
Preparations for the forthcoming 2015 Milan Expo have been blighted, and delayed, owing to fears that the mafia has been attempting to take over Expo construction works. The worries over mafia infiltration have grown so much that some wonder whether the massive development works needed to support the event will be completed in time.

I’ve been receiving very mixed messages about the state of play in the fight against Italy’s mafia or rather, mafias. There are three powerful organized crime groups in Italy: Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mob; Camorra, the Naples’ mob, and last but by no means least, the phenomenally powerful ‘Ndrangheta...

Father Dell’Olio told me that contrary to the impression given by Italy’s press, Italy’s mafias are still accumulating power. He went a little further too, stating that the mafia is now well and truly global.

Father Dell’Olio said that while the psychological effect of the asset seizures is positive, in real terms, the confiscation of cash and property belonging to the mafia is not diminishing the power or activities of the criminal organizations at all....

On the subject of Italy’s much publicized and seemingly frequent arrests of mafia bosses, Father Dell’Olio observed that while the arrests look good, in practice, and like the asset seizures, they too make little or no difference to the mafias’ ability to function...

...As Father Dell’Olio may tell you, Italians are now far more aware of the existence of the mafia and this in itself represents a form of progress. Associations like Libera, which also coordinates other similar anti-mafia initiatives, are helping generate awareness and Italians are listening.

Before Libera came on the scene, the award of construction contracts went unnoticed. Nowadays, though, people are much more likely to ask who exactly is behind the companies winning these often lucrative contracts. Italy’s authorities are then forced to investigate, so mafia activity comes to light...

In Father Dell’Olio’s opinion there’s hope... [Take, for instance,] a law passed in Italy designed to prevent the mafia from [buying and manipulating votes]. [Laws governing this] were watered down by Italy’s parliament...

...Father Dell’Olio told me that parliamentary support for combatting the mafia at a social level is not high in Italy. The nation’s politicians and government tend to remain rather quiet on the mafia issue. Very few politicians speak out regularly against the mafia and its damaging effects on Italian society and its economy.

To combat the mafia effectively,  Father Dell’Olio says what is needed is a general consensus that the mafia is bad for Italy. Furthermore, he believes that cooperation and coordination amongst those tasked with reducing the problem is essential. Until this occurs, Italy’s mafias will continue.

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  1. Although Father Dell'Olio is obviously well placed as a Libera spokesman, I think he's slightly off the mark. It's true that the Italian press regularly reports the arrests of bosses and the seizure of their mega-assets. But it also publishes data showing the astronomical profits and expanding influence of the mafias. If anything, representatives of Italian law, the police and politicians are the ones too quick to crow that "the noose is tightening" and that clans have been "decapitated." Hopefully, Dell'Olio's words will encourage the media to report such optimism more critically.

    1. Exactly! And after reporting how many millions and property seized, what they don't follow up on, is much of those monies and properties are released back to the mafioso or his family members. They dont tell you that part.

  2. Yes, I agree. Posting this was a toss up; I'd have gotten some "color" -- a POV from the media, say, to balance the story out. The Father has an ax to grind, albeit for a noble, worthwhile cause; the addition of another voice certainly would've made the piece more complex and journalistic -- and therefore more powerful.


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