Naples is a Third World city with Third World politics. It’s superrich surrounded by a miserable hinterland sprawling back from the volcano and the bay, a dilapidated jungle of violence, half-finished buildings, motorways that lead nowhere, cocaine, primitive Catholicism and stinking dumped rubbish […] There is vast private wealth in the city – at night the downtown streets are crammed with new cars, mobile phones and fur coats – but this is illegal wealth, the result of the most important ingredient of the Neapolitan scandal: the Camorra.
ED VULLIAMY, the Guardian, March 29, 1993
Pre-dating the Mafia by several decades, some historians have argued that the Camorra is a direct descendent of an obscure, fifteenth-century Spanish secret society called the Garduna. A more convincing theory is that the Camorra first began operating some time between the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, mainly in Naples, amongst the poorest sections of society who were nearly all illiterate, hence there being very few written documents recording the origins of this largely criminal organization. What isn’t in doubt is that Naples, because it was one of Europe’s largest cities during this period, was also one of its most over-populated. There wasn’t enough work to ensure everyone enjoyed a living wage, a situation which in turn bred extreme poverty and hardship for large sections of the Neapolitan population. But whereas the middle classes during this period banded together to form some of the most powerful secret societies known to history, such as the Freemasons and the Carboneria, for the majority of Neapolitans there was no such help at hand. Instead the rich grew richer, while the poor remained penniless; an economic reality exacerbated by the actions of the king of the region, Ferdinand II, who reigned from 1830 to 1859. However, Ferdinand was not a man of the people, particularly the poor whom he regarded as being the lowest of the low. Contemporary historian Marco Monnier wrote:
He never considered for a moment raising the people up from their level of degradation; on the contrary, he wanted to keep them there until the end of time as he knew very well that, given the nature of the period we live in, an absolute monarchy is only possible if it rules over a degraded and exhausted populace.1
Conditions were rife, therefore, for the emergence of an organization specifically tailored to the needs of the downtrodden, although the Camorra’s name doesn’t appear on any official documentation until 1820, when a written statute of a Camorra organization was made. This revealed a structured society complete with initiation rites, rules, regulations and funds, operating at the heart of the Neapolitan underworld.
Initially the Camorra appears to have made its greatest inroads into society through small monopolies, which it set up within the prison system. Once again the historian Marco Monnier is invaluable by giving us a marvelous portrait of an inmate’s complicated relationship with the Camorra. Monnier states that the inmate would not be allowed either to eat, drink or gamble without the permission of a camorrista (a Camorra member), while a tenth of all the money an inmate received in jail – with which he could buy food and tobacco – had to be given to the camorrista. Failure to abide by these rules could result in the ‘risk of being clubbed to death.’ On top of this, the prison authorities would also pay the Camorra a fee for keeping the prisoners under control.
It was all very lucrative and within the space of only a few years the Camorra’s influence grew to include money from gambling and theft as well as a substantial rake-off from all the goods being exported and imported through Naples. The Camorra also set itself up in the role of the police. This was especially true in the less salubrious neighborhoods of Naples where they wielded the greatest influence. In short, during King Ferdinand’s reign the Camorra made itself an integral part of city life, the only true representative of the city’s poor. It was, of course, in no way a political organization, simply one that existed to make money.
All this was to change, however, when in 1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi landed in Sicily with one aim in mind; the unification of Italy under one ruler. As he moved from Sicily to southern Italy and onwards up the country, chaos broke out in Naples as the Bourbon king (by this time Francis II had taken on the role) attempted to quell the public’s enthusiasm for Garibaldi’s success, but to little avail. Soon, what few policemen there were left began breaking their ranks and joining the mob. The old order was collapsing, and on June 26 a state of siege was declared. A new Prefect of Police was elected, Liborio Romano, who immediately turned to the Camorra – one of whom, Salvatore De Crescenzo, had been convicted six times – to reinstate some sort of order over the masses. Crescenzo’s former crimes (which included murder) didn’t seem to matter to Romano, as long as he and his colleagues could keep control over the city. The plan worked; order was brought to the streets and the king fled Naples prior to the arrival of Garibaldi.
The Camorra were now in a semi-official position, acting as the city’s main police force, a position they quickly turned into a lucrative enterprise by moving into the contraband industry, often forcing shopkeepers to buy smuggled goods, albeit at incredibly low prices. This meant that the city’s tax revenue took a substantial plunge, but the shopkeepers were too frightened to refuse the Camorra’s offers.
They chose the lesser of two evils. If they paid a tax to the sect [the Camorra] they only ran the risk of being discovered by tax inspectors and receiving a minor conviction; but if they paid the tax inspectors then they were certain of being caught by camorristi and given a good beating. So they paid a tax to the sect.’2
Despite this, the new authorities in Naples did recognize that the Camorra had grown too strong, which was something they were determined to remedy, although by this point the organization was so deeply entrenched in Neopolitan society that it was impossible to destroy altogether. Nevertheless, in the summer of 1862 approximately 1,000 camorristi were rounded up and either placed under house arrest or imprisoned in the city’s jail. Over the next forty years the Camorra did experience a general decline as a secret society, mainly due to the city’s intolerance of corruption, but also because, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, mass migration took place that deprived the Camorra of their main power base – the urban poor.
By the outbreak of the First World War, the Camorra had been all but wiped out and later, around 1922, with the arrival of Fascism in Italy, those Camorra operatives still working in Naples were quickly quashed. Benito Mussolini’s regime was not one that would tolerate organized crime. While stamping out what they saw as insurgents, the Fascists did invite certain sections of the Camorra to join their cause, but this was mainly so that they could monitor the more rural areas of southern Italy and keep them under control. Prior to Mussolini’s rise to power, one could almost have divided the country into two separate parts – the industrialized areas and cities to the north such as Milan and Genoa, and the south which still depended largely on agriculture for its main source of income. The gap widened even further after the war, with the south preferring to re-elect old politicians and stick to old ways, one consequence of which was that political corruption reasserted itself very quickly.
In 1943, when the Allies first invaded Sicily during the Second World War, British and American undercover agents set out to make contact with certain ‘pro-allied’ forces through an intermediary known to most as Lucky Luciano – one of America’s leading Mafiosi, who at this time was serving a lengthy prison sentence back in the States for running a prostitution racket. The Allies – through Luciano – appointed several Mafiosi as mayors of a selected number of Sicilian towns, quickly allowing the Mafia to re-establish its stranglehold over Sicily as a whole. Around the same time another Mafiosi operative by the name of Vito Genovese, who had earlier left America to evade an outstanding murder charge against him, settled in Naples from where he began to operate several illegal, but highly lucrative, businesses. One such involved the misappropriation of the Allies’ supplies (particularly food), which was later sold on the black market.
During this trial of a Camorra group in Viterbo in March 1911, the thirty-four accused men were seated in a steel cage to keep them in order. The informer sat in a separate cage for his own safety.
But Genovese’s crimes weren’t the only ones haunting Naples and its environs during this period, for although there were no actual Camorra gangs operating within the city, the fact that the Mafia were making huge profits from their illegal activities meant that in very small ways new crime organizations began to establish themselves. The Camorra saw to it that the surrounding region of Campania, which comprised mainly farming land, fell under their direct control.
Their influence was particularly strong in rural areas to the north and east of Naples, especially in the rich cattle area around Nola. Sometimes gangs would shoot it out for dominance in a given market; for example, sixty-one murders were committed in the Nola area during 1954-6 alone. They also intimidated farmers who refused their services or protection, normally by burning their crops.3
By the mid-1950s the Camorra’s influence pervaded all agricultural areas, including that of milk production – a move that in real terms meant huge profits for the organization. Enjoying the steady rise in their influence, camorristi then began laying plans to extend their business practices back into Naples itself. After all, most of the produce they were handling passed through the city at one point or another, so it made perfect sense. Politically, too, the Camorra were once again making huge inroads into the fabric of Neapolitan life. One only has to look to the funeral in 1955 of one of the Camorra’s major players, Pascalone ’e Nola, to see this at work, for no less than twelve Neapolitan MPs sent wreaths. But perhaps the area in which the Camorra were going to make their biggest impression over the next several years was in the Mafia-dominated contraband industry.
Cigarette smuggling was big business in the 1950s, as there were huge profits to be made. Initially, the main center for these operations was the free port of Tangiers in northern Africa. When this was closed in 1961, most of the warehouse operations selling cigarettes moved to the Yugoslavian coast, and Naples quickly became one of the world’s biggest cigarette-smuggling cities. Naturally, the Mafia controlled a large part of this lucrative pie, but the Camorra weren’t far behind, and soon they also became involved in the increasingly popular drug-trafficking industry. Given the large profits to be gained, this latter area inevitably resulted in a great deal of violence and internecine warfare. A notorious example of this was the slaughter of Gennaro Ferrigno (an importer of Peruvian cocaine) by Camorra boss Antonio Spavone in 1971 and, later the following year, the killing of an ex-policeman, Emilio Palamara.
Perhaps one of the most notorious camorrista to emerge from the pile was a man by the name of Michele Zaza (often referred to by the sobriquet ‘Mad Mike’). As the son of a fisherman, Zaza came from very humble beginnings, but by dealing in illegal arms and contraband cigarettes (somewhere in the region of 5,000 tons of the stuff per year) he soon made inroads into the Neapolitan underworld, becoming one of the Camorra’s most feared leaders. He once boasted to an investigating magistrate:
I used to load fifty thousand cases [of cigarettes] a month. I could load a hundred thousand cases, $10 million on trust, all I had to do was make a phone call […] I’d buy $24 million worth of Philip Morris in three months, my lawyer will show you the receipts. I’m proud of that $24 million.4
For all his wealth and bravado, Zaza was part of the old-style Camorra, a secret society that was soon to be overtaken by the nuovo camorra organizzata (NCO), or New Organized Camorra, of Raffaele Cutolo. Cutolo had, for most of his adult life, lived in jail and it was from there that he built up his organization, initially befriending young inmates who were unfamiliar with, and therefore scared of, the prison system. By winning these men’s trust, Cutolo soon had a loyal following. He also befriended many inmates who were too poor to buy regular food. Another strategy Cutolo implemented was to organize payments to be made to families of those who were loyal to him inside the prison. Soon Cutolo’s NCO had hundreds, if not thousands, of members, not only within the jail where he was incarcerated, but also in other prisons dotted throughout the country. He also had groups of men and women who worked for him on the outside, in towns and cities to the east of Naples such as Ottaviano. Cutolo further distinguished himself from other Camorra leaders by harboring a fierce dislike of the Mafia and any Neapolitans whom he felt were collaborating with these Sicilian thugs. In this manner, he created an extremely loyal following, all of whom identified themselves strongly with Naples and Campania. Cutolo also established a fairly traditional set of values and rules (some of which harked back to the eighteenth-century Camorra), including one that stated children should not, under any circumstances, be kidnapped or abused. This new-style Camorra began to appeal to increasing numbers of disillusioned young men. This testimony from an NCO member describes how he first became aware of the organization:
I was in Novara jail, and my relatives had come to see me […] when I went back to my cell and sat down on my bed I started to think that everything I had done in my life had been wrong ’cause I had never done anything which was important to me personally. Every single thing I’ve done was somebody else’s idea. I ain’t done nothing in my life. I was a peasant, and in 1978 I got arrested for extortion by mistake, but I was innocent. I went to the old Avellino jail, where I got to know certain camorristi. I thought that the Camorra was just.5
In 1985 the football field of the Poggioreale Prison was turned into a giant court room when 640 Camorra members went on trial. Also in attendance were 300 lawyers and more than 1,000 policemen.
The time and effort Cutolo spent on his young recruits paid enormous dividends, and he saw to it that large numbers of unemployed, disillusioned, directionless youngsters felt they had something to work towards. By the late 1970s, the NCO was the most active criminal organization in the Neapolitan district. Extortion was their main source of income, followed by cocaine. However, Cutolo was not without rivals and one such competitor proved to be the cause of his eventual downfall. The NF (nuovo famiglia or new family) was an alliance built up of all the other Camorra groups to fight against the dominance of Cutolo’s NCO, whom everyone agreed had grown too powerful. Frequent battles broke out between the two factions, although it wasn’t until the early 1980s that Cutolo’s organization really began to suffer, eventually dying out altogether. This was not only down to the in-fighting, but also to the authorities who began cracking down hard on the NCO (who were more infamous and more conspicuous than the NF). Other reasons for the organization’s demise included the relative youth and inexperience of its members, which in turn meant that internal disputes usually met with one NCO killing another. Cutolo himself was also debilitated when President Sandro Pertini personally ordered that he be removed from his mainland prison and sent to a maximum-security jail on an island near to Sardinia. This was the last nail in Cutolo’s coffin, but if it spelt the end of the NCO, it certainly didn’t deter other Camorra groups from expanding their businesses and growing in influence. An earthquake that devastated the Naples area on November 23, 1980 handed the Camorra a huge opportunity to make money and further inveigle itself into Neapolitan politics and society.
Causing almost 3,000 deaths and 9,000 injuries, the estimated number of people who were made homeless by the earthquake was between 200,000 and 300,000. Massive building programmes were required and the Camorra, who had for decades been positioning themselves within local government, were now in the ideal situation to win construction contracts, siphoning off large amounts of government money in the process. One group involved in the building scams was the Nuvoletta gang, led by the notorious Camorra boss, Lorenzo Nuvoletta, aided by his three brothers, Angelo, Ciro and Gaetano.
Born and brought up within a farming community to the north of Naples, the young Nuvoletta boys soon joined a Camorra group led by Luigi and Enrico Maisto. In the early 1960s, however, bored with being bit-players, they decided to branch out on their own and established themselves as landowners, supplying foodstuffs to both military and government-run establishments such as hospitals. The Nuvolettas made vast amounts of money during this period, not least because they swindled several insurance companies over a variety of false claims. The money they made from this was then ploughed into the setting up of several money-lending establishments, which soon engaged most local businesses as their clients. Heroin was next on the Nuvoletta brothers’ agenda; drug smuggling being the easiest way to make vast amounts of money over a relatively short period of time.
Building up their crime empire, of course, was not without its risks. On more than one occasion the brothers were arrested by police and charged with a variety of offences including extortion. It was also believed that, unlike many Camorra groups, the Nuvoletta gang also enjoyed strong ties with the Sicilian Mafia – often providing safe havens for those Mafiosi who were on the run from the authorities. This testament by Camorra supergrass Pasquale Galasso details how meetings were often held at the Nuvoletta brothers’ villas, at which the Mafia were frequently present:
Our worries arose from the possibility that the police would arrive during our meetings and cause a bloodbath, yet Nuvoletta always managed to calm us down. Sometimes when Carmine Alfieri and I looked out at his farmhouse when leaving Vallesana, we saw some police cars parked outside Nuvoletta’s house. That proved to us he was well protected […] in the course of these meetings we had to sort out once and for all the tensions Cutolo had created. I can recall that Riina, Provenzano and Bagarella [all Mafiosi] were in Nuvoletta’s farmhouse at the same time.6
Being connected to the Mafia had enormous benefits for the Nuvoletta brothers, not least because the Mafia also afforded the Nuvoletta gang protection both politically and from other Camorra organizations.
Reaping the rewards from their many businesses, the Nuvolettas now decided to invest their capital in the ever-burgeoning construction industry, with cement factories their particular choice. After setting up their first operation in April 1979, two years later the company made almost 500 percent profit. Extraordinary as this was, the massive gains were mostly due to the 1980 earthquake. Cement was necessary in all areas of reconstruction. It was almost a licence to print money, particularly after such a major disaster. But not everything was plain sailing, for in the same year that the earthquake struck, workers in the shipyards of Castellammare, who were angered by the Camorra’s demands for protection money, mounted demonstrations throughout the summer.
The Nuvolettas didn’t allow such a minor matter as social unrest to stand in the way of progress, and throughout the 1980s they made significant inroads into Neapolitan public life, not least when Vincenzo Agizza – a Nuvoletta gang member – was made a Christian Democrat councilor in 1980. This was just the tip of the iceberg. Many other council members and politicians were also connected to the Camorra, if not directly, then indirectly through family members. This meant that the Nuvolettas were soon in control of an international corporation with fingers in such diverse pies as the construction industry, the entertainment business, drugs, fraud, stud farming, real estate and agriculture. Still, as powerful and rich as they undoubtedly were, the Nuvolettas were not immune to attack, as was proved in 1984 when Ciro Nuvoletta was murdered by a rival Camorra group, the Bardellinos. This began a war between the two factions, which saw eight people killed and twenty-four seriously wounded. Perhaps the most notorious Camorra-related event during this turbulent period, one that illustrated the extent to which the Camorra worked handin-hand with some of Italy’s most prominent politicians, was the Cirillo affair.
On April 27, 1981, a terrorist organization called the Red Brigade (not to be confused with the German Red Army Faction) kidnapped Ciro Cirillo (a Christian Democrat politician), killing two of his security guards and injuring his secretary. The Christian Democrats had, three years earlier, suffered the loss of another of their members, Aldo Moro, who was also kidnapped and later murdered by the Red Brigade. Knowing what was at stake, therefore, the Christian Democrats (CDs) immediately wanted to negotiate for Cirillo’s release. This brought the Camorra squarely into the picture.
One day after Cirillo’s capture, the Italian Secret Services were granted permission to visit Raffaele Cutolo in the Ascoli Piceno prison. Present at this meeting was the Christian Democrat Mayor of Giugliano, Giuliano Granata, which indicated just how far the CDs were willing to work alongside the Camorra to negotiate the release of their colleague. In fact, the government was fully complicit in the whole affair, with the Italian Minister of the Interior, Virginio Rognoni, declaring that, ‘The Camorra could have an interest in helping to free Councilor Cirillo. Sometimes the relations between organized crime and terrorism are intertwined, other times they are separate. All possible channels must therefore be opened.’7
In a protest against a Camorra turf war that had seen dozens killed in Naples during 2004, people lay spreadeagled in the street covered in white sheets marked with fake bloodstains to represent those who had lost their lives.
The Camorra’s own willingness to become involved in negotiations must, as Tom Behan points out in his book on the group, have something to do with the fact that the police had deployed so many officers in the area to form checkpoints and roadblocks that the Camorra’s illegal activities were severely curtailed. The sooner the Cirillo affair ended, the sooner ‘business as normal’ could resume. To this end, Cutolo, through the prison network, made contact with his opposite number within the Red Brigade who was also serving out a long prison term, though not in the same jail. But what was Cutolo’s asking price for his involvement? How far was the government willing to go in order to secure Cirillo’s release? Cutolo himself has said (though naturally this cannot be verified) that the Christian Democrat minister, Vincenzo Scotti, allegedly arranged for Cutolo’s faction to be ‘gifted’ a substantial number of machine guns as payment.8 Cutolo was, no doubt, also hoping for an early release from prison, as well as perhaps ‘winning’ a larger share of construction contracts than his organization was managing to secure at the time. Negotiations continued until it was agreed that both the Red Brigade and Cutolo’s New Camorra were to receive large financial pay-offs garnered from a variety of construction companies who all supported the Christian Democrats. Three months after he was kidnapped, Cirillo was released from captivity unharmed. Yet this was only the beginning of the story, for afterwards countless questions were asked (particularly by the newspapers) about the extent of the Democrats’ collusion with organized crime to secure Cirillo’s release – not to mention how much money had changed hands during their meetings.
More disturbing than this, however, was the fact that several key players in the affair were subsequently murdered, including Antonio Ammaturo (head of the Naples Flying Squad) who was killed on July 15, 1982, Vincenzo Casillo (one of Cutolo’s chief negotiators in the affair) who was killed by a car bomb in 1983, and his partner of several years who was found dead a few months later, her body dumped in a motorway ditch.
Eventually, a judicial enquiry was ordered to investigate exactly what had occurred both during and after the kidnapping. In conclusion the enquiry stated the following:
In judgement it seems clear that the evidence points to an attitude on the part of leading Christian Democrats that was markedly different from that of the party’s ‘official line’; which was that of reacting with firmness to all Red Brigade blackmails and refusing all hypotheses of a negotiation or a compromise. In reality, there were members of the party who did not follow this official line but were active in various ways to obtain Cirillo’s release, turning above all to the mediation of Raffaele Cutolo and accepting negotiations with the Red Brigade.9
With a good number of Italian politicians willing to work alongside the Camorra, this secret organization established a firm hold on Italian politics and society as a whole. Yet, unlike its Sicilian counterpart (the Mafia), which prides itself on secrecy, the Camorra’s activities are frequently not entirely covert. For the most part this is probably due to the nature of their business dealings. With contraband cigarettes, for example, the trade requires a relatively large number of people to operate smoothly, many of them in clearly visible roles.
A second way in which the Camorra and Mafia operate differently is the way in which the Camorra either shun, or do not wish to encourage, a clear sense of hierarchy within its different organizations. This makes it very difficult for opposition groups to eradicate any particular Camorra ‘family’, for without a recognizable head of operations and subordinate chiefs, there are no targets. Virtually anyone joining the Camorra can rise to the top of his chosen ‘profession’, thus making the Camorra an ideal recruiting ground for youngsters wishing to make vast amounts of money in extremely short periods of time. Indeed, the Camorra indirectly employs huge numbers of teenagers, all eager to sell their goods, pedal drugs or extort money, while also encouraging them (those who are under eighteen years of age) to rob and commit murder, because if they are caught they cannot be tried or punished as adults.
Nor, these days, do the youngsters joining the Camorra have to undergo any type of initiation ceremony or prove their ‘family credentials’ like most Mafiosi recruits do. Family ties are important to the Camorra, but they are not essential. What is necessary is a willingness to engage in any or all of the Camorra-style businesses such as money laundering, drug dealing, usury, intimidation or extortion, the latter apparently constituting a huge business in the Naples area of Italy. In 1992 a shop owner’s forum stated that an estimated 46 percent of shops in Naples were paying extortion money to the Camorra (whereas the national average was only 12 percent).
Usury is also frequently employed by Camorra organizations as a means of bringing in revenue. In an area that boasts notoriously high levels of unemployment, where credit is difficult to acquire for people without any regular income, private money-lending has almost become a way of life. Again, in Tom Bean’s book on the Camorra, he states that the Association of Italian Bank and Finance customers has estimated that the practice of usury accounts for a national total of US$10 billion business. Illegal gambling is another huge Camorra-run enterprise with large numbers of illicit gaming houses set up throughout Naples and the region of Campania. The Camorra also operates several illegal betting systems, the revenue from which in 1989 was estimated to have been in the region of US$4 billion, resulting in a clear $16 million profit.
Huge profits are also to be made from the construction industry. In this respect politicians in the Camorra’s pay were of vital importance in securing the contracts, sub-contracts and authorizations. ‘The relationship between politicians and bureaucrats, businessmen, and then camorristi,’ said a senior member of the Alfieri Camorra gang, Pasquale Galasso, during an Anti-Mafia Commission enquiry, ‘is ultimately realized and achieves total fusion in the mechanism of public sector contracts. On the basis of all that I have noticed personally in my legitimate business activities and my work with Carmine Alfieri and other camorristi and businessmen, it is clear to me that the politician who manages the financing of a contract, is a mediator between the Camorra and a large company, which is nearly always from northern or central Italy. Such mediation takes the form of demanding a bribe from the company for himself or his representatives, and the awarding of sub-contracts to companies directly controlled by Camorra groups.’10
So, with the Camorra so deeply entrenched in the socio-economic fabric of Italian life, is there any chance that this secretive organization can ever be brought to account or eradicated?
In short, the answer is ‘no’, although the reasons for this are manifold. First and foremost, with so many politicians, policemen and judges in the Camorra’s pocket, it would hardly be in the government’s interest to crack down hard on them. Institutionalized corruption runs rife in Italy. Numerous politicians have been accused of serious crimes only to avoid being either arrested or tried on these charges. In the late 1990s, the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to facilitate a law which allowed for the freeing of all politicians facing trial. Due to a huge public outcry the bill was eventually dropped, but in 2001 Berlusconi announced he wanted the crime of false accounting struck off the statute books – the Prime Minister was at the time facing three separate trials for this crime. Neither are the police immune from criticism, with one government report in 1997 showing that any effort to stamp out Camorra-related crimes was impossible when several senior police officers were being paid monthly ‘salaries’ by the Camorra.
In direct contrast, the general public seems far more willing to stamp out organized crime, and are far more effective in doing so, because they are the ones who ultimately vote politicians, governments and judges in and out of office. Large groups of students, particularly in the Naples area, have mounted mass demonstrations against the presence of the Camorra in their city, often with the backing of Neapolitan shopkeepers, who close their premises as a sign of solidarity with the students and as a demonstration of their disgust at having to pay protection money. The church has also, to a certain extent, made a stand against the Camorra, organizing marches and distributing anti-Camorra literature.
Yet, despite all of this – the arrest of several senior Camorra players in the mid1990s and the death of several others, the rise in the number of super-grasses willing to talk to the authorities, and the groundswell of public opinion against organized crime – no political strategy that leaves the foundations of the existing system untouched will ultimately work, and may even give rise to a far stronger Camorra in the future.