Italy has been one of the most visited and renowned countries in the world for thousands of years. We are known for many things, the good food, the good life, the beautiful lands and sadly the Mafia.
Since the 18th century Italian Organized Crime has infiltrated the social and economic life of many regions, in particular the south of Italy where the famous Sicilian Mafia was first born. Throughout the years they started to expand towards the northern regions, in particular in Campania. Here, in Naples, the Camorra put its roots down in the middle of the 19th century. Soon the Camorra became a very powerful organization in the region and especially after the Second World War it started having a huge influence on the local economies and politics.
The Camorra is an organization that is both entrepreneurial and criminal, a sort of criminal cartel which extends to all fields of the economy. There are many ways with which these families finance themselves. The most common one is the infamous extortion, an illegal way to get money from common citizens by threatening them in some ways, including death. Other illegal fields where the Mafia is present are the drug and prostitution rackets.
But the Mafia and especially the Camorra act also on many legal sectors of our economy and politic. Many labor unions are filled with “Camorristi” who take control of various building and road constructions all over the country trying to make as much profit as possible. From the beginnings of the 90’s the Camorra also took control of the industrial waste in Naples. It started to decide where and how to collect the trash and where to built the landfills — all of this under the eyes of the Italian politicians and the world.
In 2008 a huge environmental crisis exploded based on this issue. Roads all over the city were flooded with trash and cars could barely access the center of the city. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, after his second reelection, decided to start a campaign against this huge environmental issue and especially against this group of Organized Crime. The project never really worked. Still today the problem is present. One of the most beautiful cities in the country is getting ruined by its bad administration, where corruption is fully present. The problem is that is becoming a vicious cycle. Politics are more and more involved in this “dirty business” and if we, Italian citizens, do not do something, nothing is going to change.
Now with the new Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, the situation is getting better, but very slightly. Not enough forces are put against the Mafia, which still acts as a total monarch all over Italy. In fact the problem now is not just restricted in the South, but it has expanded also in the northern regions. To recall a recent example, this year during the EXPO in Milan, it was found that the “Ndrangheta”, a type of Mafia originally from Calabria, controlled more than half of the building construction involved in the event. The force of order barely intervened and as usual the local administrations let it go for another time.
Although today there is more consciousness among the people about these criminals, not so long ago the problem was denied by politicians and considered just an urban legend. In fact all over Italy new anti-Mafia initiatives are springing up. Now schools face the problem with specifics lessons about it. But this is not enough to overcome the problem. New legislation needs to be passed and better administrations need to be established. Even if the fight against the Mafia will probably never end, we — Italian citizens, with the state and the police force — have to keep fighting in order to prevent it from completely taking over the country.