Over the years the Sicilian Mafia also known as Cosa Nostra has been forced to adapt to the changing landscape in Italy. Increased pressure from law enforcement and the strengthening of key rivals like the Calabrian Mafia have weakened the strength and power of the Sicilian Mafia. But as many mafia experts and Italian law enforcement sources point out the Sicilian Mafia has not gone away but has simply become a more low key organization of late. Unlike the past they are no longer so easy to see as they are no longer the peasant leaders and are now graduates and do business in suits along side bankers and politicians. Many believes this just makes them more dangerous then ever before as they expand their illegal operations more and more into the legitimate business world.
But even with this new look the Siclian Mafia is still as violent and as treacherous as ever. The violent history that included bloody turf battles and a shocking war against the state that led to murders of police officials and politicians stands as a constant reminder of lengths Cosa Nostra will go to survive. The assassinations of anti-Mafia judges Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone as recently as 1992 via bombings showed that no one was out of the reach of Cosa Nostra even if it is seemingly not as powerful as years past. Even though the amount of violent acts in recent years has significantly decreased recent threats by jailed former Cosa Nostra boss Toto Riina proves its still a way of doing business for the Mafia.
“Salvatore Toto Riina“
Riina issued threats against current anti-Mafia magistrate Nino Di Matteo from prison with some sources claiming explosives had been readied. Judges like Di Matteo are closely guarded and isolated but as history has proven the Mafia can and has killed them when ever they like. These new threats against Di Matteo are likely because of his recent investigations into the negotiations between the state and the Sicilian Mafia in the early 1990’s after the bombings of Falcone and Borsellino. Di Matteo has already brought many of those who became accomplices to Cosa Nostra to trial including senior police officials and an internal affairs minister.
This new low profile way of doing business may be helping to keep the Sicilian Mafia out of the headlines to an extent but they are still conducting business as usually across Italy. They still maintain a level of violence needed to maintain what is left of their power base and are responsible for vast amounts political corruption along with collections of “Pizzo” or protection money from a large number of people and businesses. There is also a influx of new and younger mobsters and leaders like Matteo Messina Denaro attempting to re-establish the organizations ruling panel and increase its membership. Some believe this could lead to a resurgence of Cosa Nostra if law enforcement does not keep the pressure on.