Lorenzo Tondo at the British publication the Guardian offers a piece on how Sicilian organized crime has retreated to the countryside in Sicily.
The Napoli sisters keep their entire harvest in a glass jar, resting on a wooden table in the living room. Inside, there are only a dozen stalks of wheat. The rest of the crop – 80,000 kilograms – was destroyed by the Sicilian mafia, determined to force out these three women working in the land of The Godfather.
For three generations, the Napoli family farmed wheat and hay in Corleone, the historic stronghold of Cosa Nostra. Their father, Salvatore, was a hard worker who, after much sacrifice in the fields, managed to send his three daughters – Marianna, Ina and Irene – to university.
But a crisis in what was the world’s most notorious mafia, broken apart by prosecutors, has pushed Cosa Nostra back to their rural origins, and they want their land back.
… The crisis in the mafia’s origins lie in the jailing of more than 4,000 mafiosi since 1990 and the replacement of the old mobsters with younger bosses who lacked their authority.
Drug trafficking, once under the monopoly control of Cosa Nostra, is now run by the most powerful Calabrian mafia, the ’Ndrangheta. The Sicilian construction industry, which once represented a giant business for the mafia, has lost more than €1bn since 2007, according to the Italian Association of Builders.
Far from Palermo, hidden in the Sicilian interior, Cosa Nostra is trying to start again from scratch.
“It is as if, pushed by the crisis, Cosa Nostra has withdrawn into the countryside,” says Sergio Lari, the head of the Caltanissetta prosecutor’s office in the centre of Sicily. “Far from the pressure of the authorities in the big cities, the bosses seem to have found a safe haven.”
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