Raffaele Cutolo was the biggest boss of the Camorra, a fragmented street mafia that has never wanted to have a single boss. An apostle of the vanguard of crime who wanted to innovate and stand up to the hegemony of Cosa Nostra, but who spent half his life in prison for it. Cutolo died at 20:21 on Wednesday in the hospital section of the maximum security prison in Parma. Exactly in the same place where Toto Riina, the great boss of Cosa Nostra, did it in November 2017. He was 79 years old and was the oldest prisoner under 41 bis – the severe prison regime applied to gangsters in Italy. He had been in jail since 1979, when he was arrested in the province of Salento. He was the apostle of the so-called Nueva Camorra Napolitana and one of the most influential criminals, despite the fact that he entered prison with only 22 years. His shadow even planned killings like that of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. He never saw the light of the sun again, but he never regretted it and until not long ago he still maintained a certain influence among the clans of Naples.
Cutolo, nicknamed The professor, promoted from the town of Ottaviano, on the slopes of Vesuvius, a current that could well have represented the May 68 of the Camorra. The founding of a new current in the mid-seventies, called Nueva Camorra Organizada (NCO), based on the pyramidal structure of Cosa Nostra that changed all the rules. Cutolo was inspired by the Bella Società Riformata, a Neapolitan organization of the 19th century, and the Garduna fraternity, a Spanish criminal association of the 17th century (many of the myths of the three great Italian mafias come from Spain). The idea was to be able to face the enormous force of the Cosa Nostra. At the beginning of the eighties, thanks to its establishment and dynamics of easements in the Neapolitan prison of Poggioreale, it already had around 10,000 members.
The NCO unleashed a storm of lead and blood in the 1980s to seize control of the region and of Italy’s big criminal businesses. Naples was plunged into a tremendous economic crisis, Maradona landed in the city and the world looked towards the foot of Vesuvius. But Cutolo was fighting for control of all businesses on the margins of the law with a newly born faction called Nueva Familia, which ended up defeating its predecessors at the cost of a trail of blood and dozens of corpses in the middle of the street. The filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore was inspired by him to shoot the film The Camorrista, inspired by the book by journalist Giuseppe Marrazzo. But the echoes of Don Raffae ‘, the legendary song by Fabrizio D’André.
Cutolo is the perfect example of the main criminal rule of the street: who iron kills, iron dies. Sentenced to repeated life sentences, he committed his first murder in 1963, when he killed a young man in a fight to defend the honor of his sister Rosetta. Years later, in 1991, his son Roberto was killed in a brawl in Tradate, in the province of Carese. But then he became a father again in 2007 for the second time thanks to artificial insemination from prison (there he married without being able to have contact with her with Immacolata Iacone).
Cutolo is one of those hinges between the political world and the criminal universe that abound in Italy. Also with other mafia organizations such as the Roman Banda della Magliana. From his maximum security cell, under constant surveillance, day and night, he continued to impart criminal doctrine to his entire army. His power was so great that when the Red Brigades kidnapped Ciro Cirillo, one of the political figures of the Neapolitan Christian Democracy, to obtain his release, several figures from the secret services appeared in the Cutolo prison. It is also said that some minister. Everything has been officially denied. But Ciro Cirillo was released. The price of 600,000 euros, it was said at the time, could be divided between the Brigades and Cutolo’s family. The same, he assured, could have done with Aldo Moro. “I was able to save him,” he told the Prosecutor’s Office. “But the politicians told me it was not appropriate.”
Cutolo’s loss of power gave rise to a whole line of new rowdy bosses, to the creation of the System, the new pole star of the Camorra (3,000 dead, among criminals and stray bullets, in 25 years). Today the organization is extremely fragmented and it is difficult to establish a vertex like the one that Cutolo represented. A swarm of teenagers on scooters fight for control of the city center. Not even in that, the contemporaries of the founder of the NCO complain, the codes are already respected.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.