Covid has unleashed a financial crisis in Italy, and the Camorra is circling, just like vultures before the kill.
Sectors such as tourism and construction have slowed down considerably, and in some cases they have ground to a halt. This has led to thousands of people losing their jobs, and they are now struggling to make ends meet and feed their families. The situation is particularly dire for those who work in the black economy, since they are not able to access much help from the State.
Small and Medium-sized companies, the mainstay of the Italian economy, are also facing major difficulties. In many cases business has dried up and it has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to get credit from a bank or other legitimate financial institution to stay afloat.
“The catering and construction sectors are the primary activities here, but everything had to stop. We might have set up anti-Camorra structures and there is a desire for redemption here, but we need the government to act by setting up structural funds across the country in order not to lose what we have gained so far.”Renato Natale, mayor of Casal Di Principe in the province of Caserta, Campania
Covid – a golden opportunity for the Camorra
For the Camorra, Covid has been a godsend.
The situation in the south-western region of Campania is grim. Families who are not able to put food on the table have had to resort to charity. This is where the Camorra has stepped in, handing out food parcels or money.
Several small companies on the verge of collapse have also had to accept the “help” offered by the mafiosi. The danger, of course, is that having borrowed money from the Camorra, after Covid the owners might be pushed out of the business. The Camorra would then take over, using the company as a front for money laundering.
The problem, of course, is that the Camorra never does anything for free.
The food parcels and cash handouts create an obligation, which the mafia will one day call in. It could be asking a family to hide a Camorrista hiding from the authorities, or smuggling a gun, or voting for a particular politician. The possibilities are endless but what is certain is that the debt will have to be repaid in some form or another.
“Now, more than ever, popular support comes at a discount. They used to ask for money, now they give it. They are giving it in smaller amounts, then they will ask for something in return.
We have registered an acceleration of the practice that is facilitated by the spread of the crisis. Now, there is no need to threaten business owners. Entrepreneurs are looking for someone to help them.”
Luigi Cuomo, president of SOS Imprese, the national anti-racketeering organization
For more about the situation in Campania, read the DW.com article on https://www.dw.com/en/italy-camorra-mafia-clan-attempts-comeback-amid-coronavirus/a-53532200