New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was grinning from ear-to-ear when he informed the media that sixty two people from the Gambino, Genovese, and Bonanno families face 80 charges, ranging from money laundering, illegal gambling, and murder. Apparently, an international anti-Mafia operation was conducted between New York and Sicily, sweeping through the connections that bind Italian families involved in organized crime. The charges and subsequent arrests were made possible by the Organized Crime Task Force's infiltration of the Gambino Family, and the successful recording of hundreds of hours of conversations.
In Sicily and Palermo, 77 arrests were made in connection with the Cosa Nostra linked to Mafia boss Salvatore Lo Piccolo, successor to the biggest boss Bernardo Provenzano. Police said that Lo Piccolo was attempting to mend fences with the New York based Gambino family and the Inzerillos family in Italy, after the mafia war in the 1980's splintered their inter-relationships.
The charges against all mafia members were based on crimes committed between 10 and 30 years ago and only came to light recently after the conversations recorded tied up loose ends. No witnesses ever came out to testify.The arrests may be of some significance, but the sound bytes from the state Attorney General's office seems to overstate the size of the catch. Statements like lopping off the head, chest and shoulders of the Gambino family with these arrests; a description using the language style of the mafia, may serve their purpose for publicity, but will not really rid the city of the presence of organized crime.
The Cosa Nostra began as an assortment of racketeers in the 1920s, and was organized and integrated in 1931 with the formation of a Commission composed of the heads of the five families. The Commission settled all major and minor disputes between families and their underlings on matters pertaining to the running of their business and designated territories. These are not just ordinary criminals. The mafia and its members are tied by history, culture and a set of values with a peculiar practice and expression such as honor, dignity, revenge and loyalty. It is founded on blood relationships and an informal merit system. Succession is done through blood and merit that cuts across generations and intermarriage of Italian families.
So when New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says that the mafia " is as unrelenting as weeds that continue to sprout in the cracks of society", he is right. For as long as there is corruption and greed which breeds poverty, helplessness, disenchantment and alienation; the Mafia will always have a presence. But when he says, in the same vein, that "we will not rest until organized crime is a distant memory",it could be a lot of loose talk. Unless America finds its road to Damascus and eliminates corruption, greed, poverty and injustice; and the US applies a policy of genocide on all Italians living in America, it will never happen. Attorney Cuomo will have no day of rest for the remainder of his life, or may totally lose his memory due to Alzheimer's disease.