With the arrest of mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, Italy has neutralized the latest symbol of a terrifying era, peaking during the 1980s and 1990s.
At that time, the Mafia put the Italian State on the ropes both for the impunity of its activities and for the murders of prominent exponents of the fight against the organization.
It is, without a doubt, a success in the fight against organized crime, but at the same time it raises important questions about how the last great leader of the Sicilian Mafia was able to remain free during the last three decades at the head of a criminal organization that it is still a long way from being eliminated.
Messina Denaro was arrested on Monday when he went to a regular appointment to receive medical treatment for colon cancer.
The police have discovered that he resided in a comfortable house just nine kilometers from where his family lives and that his daily routine seemed completely normal.
Heir and clan mate —the so-called Corleoneses— of two other great exponents of the Mafia, Salvatore Totò Riina, arrested in 1993 and imprisoned until his death in 2017, and Bernardo Provenzano, arrested in 2006 and also imprisoned until his death in 2016 , represents a time of near-omnipotent power and terror in which murders, shootings and deadly attacks abounded.
Of particular note are the murders of anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, both in 1992,
It is true that since the arrests of Riina and Provenzano, the organization already led by Messina Denaro has opted for a lower profile, without this implying that it has given up any of its illegal activities.
They included before and after all kinds of crimes, and among them the huge amounts of money conveniently destined for bribes, blackmail or threats, depending on the case, to the Italian industrial and political fabric.
And so it has been for almost 30 years in which inexplicably Messina Denaro —sentenced in absentia in 2002 to life imprisonment for fifty murders, some perpetrated with his own hands and others ordered, including against pregnant women and children— has always emerged unscathed. of any police operation, sometimes at the last minute.
Although the beheading of the organization is excellent news, the Italian authorities still have a long way to go before eradicating an evil that extends its ramifications beyond the borders of the transalpine country and for which they need all possible international collaboration.