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Tags: mob | italy | coronavirus

Mob Feeding Poor In Italy During COVID-19 Crisis, And Authorities Are Worried

Mob Feeding Poor In Italy During COVID-19 Crisis, And Authorities Are Worried
A deserted Italian shopping district. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI / Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 10 April 2020 05:11 PM EDT

Mobsters are reportedly handing out free food to poor families during the coronavirus quarantine in hard-hit Italy — but law enforcement authorities fear the charity masks an evil motive.

According to the Guardian, videos have surfaced showing food runs by known gangsters across the poorest regions of southern Italy: Campania, Calabria, Sicily and Puglia.

“For over a month, shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs have been closed,” Nicola Gratteri, antimafia investigator and head of the prosecutor’s office in Catanzaro, told the Guardian. 

“Millions of people work in the grey economy, which means that they haven’t received any income in more than a month and have no idea when they might return to work. The government is issuing so-called shopping vouchers to support people. If the state doesn’t step in soon to help these families, the mafia will provide its services, imposing their control over people’s lives.”

The lockdown in Italy affects an estimated 3.3 million people who work off the books. Of those, more than 1 million live in the south, the Guardian reported. Their desperation is throwing fuel on the fire of the coronavirus crisis, and the mafia is willing to stoke it, the news outlet reported.

The Guardian noted that in the south of Italy bosses have customarily presented themselves to the people as benefactors and local power brokers, initially without asking for anything in return.

“Mafia bosses consider their cities as their own fiefdom,” Gratteri told the news outlet.

“The bosses know very well that in order to govern, they need to take care of the people in their territory. And they do it by exploiting the situation to their advantage. In the people’s eyes, a boss who knocks on the door offering free food is a hero. And the boss knows that he can then count on the support of these families when necessary.”

The handouts are not gifts, warned Federico Varese, professor of criminology at the University of Oxford.

“The mafia does not do anything out of its kind heart," he told the news outlet. "They are favors that everyone will have to pay back in some form or another, by aiding and abetting a fugitive, holding a gun, dealing drugs and the like.”

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GlobalTalk
Mobsters are reportedly handing out free food to poor families during the coronavirus quarantine in hard-hit Italy - but law enforcement authorities fear the charity masks an evil motive...
mob, italy, coronavirus
390
2020-11-10
Friday, 10 April 2020 05:11 PM
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