The time of the ‘mafiavirus’: the Italian mafias, great beneficiaries of the coronavirus crisis

The term was created by the priest Luigi Ciotti, founder of Libera and famous social fighter. With its gigantic liquidity, the Ndranghetta in Calabria, the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Neapolitan Camorra penetrate the social sectors taking advantage of the blow that the disease has caused.

A survey known this weekend confirms the general feeling that the mafias are the main beneficiaries of the economic and social disaster caused by the coronavirus epidemic that began on February 21 and that in the coming days will reach 50 thousand deaths. 70% of Italians believe that mafia organizations have gained more power than ever. The priest Luigi Ciotti, founder of Libera and famous social fighter, affirms that what he calls “the Mafiavirus” is taking full advantage of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With his gigantic liquidity and his organization, careful to take advantage of the crises, is penetrating the social sectors, especially companies and families, weakened and disoriented by the devastating consequences of the consequences of the fight against Covid-19. The pandemic has largely sunk productive activity, causing multimillion-dollar revenue losses and generating a climate of insecurity and fear that weakens society.

The deterioration of the standard of living of millions of Italians creates the conditions for a new spread of the mafias from their strongholds in southern Italy, especially the ndranghetta en Calabria, the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Neapolitan Camorra. For decades the clans have established themselves solidly in a long process in the prosperous and industrialized north of the country.

The loan with usury, practiced by the mafia “families”, is only one of the sources of enrichment and power. As has happened in other crises, the spaces are expanded “ad infinitum” in the conquest of control of companies and businesses thanks to its gigantic financial liquidity. The system offers extraordinary opportunities with the plans of the European Union Recovery Fund, which will make it rain in Italy 209 billion euros90 thousand as non-refundable subsidies and the rest in very low interest loans and very long payment terms.

Italy will face the crisis thanks to these mountains of money, with plans that include many public works and support to companies, a field in which the mafias move with much experience and flexibility.

The opportunities for large criminal organizations are unique. The “Demos” survey for Libera, the organization led by Father Ciotti, points to the conviction of the vast majority of Italians that corruption is spreading even more, facilitating the increase in the presence of mafias. The phenomenon is particularly spectacular in northwestern Italy, in highly developed areas such as Lombardy (the capital Milan), Piedmont (Turin) and Liguria (Genoa), where the phenomenon of mafia infiltration is most acute. We must add a very important region such as Emilia Romagna, in the center-north.

The action of the mafias finds wide field in corruption that in most regions the health sector suffers, which due to the pandemic absorbs formidable resources at this juncture. In the south the phenomenon is very consolidated. One case is that of Calabria, where half of the regional budget finances the health sector.

The response of the state apparatus to hinder the mafia action is based so far on the Interdictions, ordinances of the prefects (representatives of the central power), which are growing rapidly. Almost fifteen hundred of these measures have already been issued, which do not answer crimes but are preventive procedures that deny the company in question participation in public tenders and in its relations with the public administration.

In the last four months, when the aid of the government of Rome began to flow in to companies, the Interdictions to curb mafia infiltration. “We will carefully monitor the distribution of funds, especially at the hands of those who arrive,” warned Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgenesa.

Only in Frosinone, in the Lazio region, with capital in Rome, the prefect Ignazio Portelli, already issued three Interdictions in the last month in a company of materials for energy, another of fuels and another of motor transport, where contacts with exponents of the mafias sounded the alarms.

Currently, half a dozen Interdictions are registered per day to stop the mafia’s assault on the legal economy and the growing flows of public money from State aid. The crisis has broken the debt levees. Facing the pandemic has forced the Italian state to increase the deficit of the Gross Domestic Product to ten percent. In silver it means that more than one hundred billion euros have been dedicated to paying the wages that have fallen in companies in crisis, to those who work in bars, restaurants and other places. You also need to help business owners and businesses in difficulty.

This fantastic movement of resources stimulates the appetite of the mafias. Three thousand investigations have been opened in the courts that represent as many cases of business property passages and other operations in which the magistrates believe they see the hand of the godfathers of the clans.

Organized crime knows how to quickly adapt its productive capacity to the market. Restoration, tourism and hotel sector, agri-food sector, large distribution, building, Private health is in great development and according to police and judicial investigators there are signs of mafia activity in the market for drugs, machines and tools sanitary, the ownership of private clinics. And also in the multibillion-dollar vaccine business, which is being placed in the center of the attention of governments and naturally of the mafias.

A particularly rich area is self-recycling, in which the Calabrian mafia is especially active thanks to its enormous liquidity from the world cocaine traffic. Dirty money launderers have risen 25% percent in recent months, according to researchers. Controlling more and more legal activities brilliantly serves the purpose of self-recycling.

Rome, correspondent



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