The 'omertà' that protected Messina Denaro | International

Rate this post

Matteo Messina Denaro was the most wanted criminal in Italy and one of the most dangerous in the world. He had been on the run for 30 years, but robot portraits of his face appeared in all police stations and airports. The capo, a native of Castelvetrano (in the province of Trapani), decided to stay close to his people and hide in an apartment located in the town next to his, a few kilometers from where his family lives. He was the most famous person in this region. But no neighbor recognized him, despite the fact that he led a relatively normal life and regularly left the house to go to the bar or go shopping. "Many have associated that photo with the man they saw in the pizzeria, in the bar or in the supermarket," explained the local police chief, Giuliano Panierino.

The question that everyone is asking now is how no one, in a small town where everyone knows each other, deduced that that man was Matteo Messina Denaro. "If a stranger arrives and they see him three nights in a row having dinner in a restaurant, it takes them a short time to find out who he is," police sources say. And the answer, in many cases, has to do with the omerta or the law of silence of a province in which the clan of Messina Denaro has ruled for the last decades without fissures. At the corner supermarket, for example, where he or his bodyguards supposedly did the shopping, none of the employees consulted had ever seen him. “Also, he is very old. How were we going to recognize him?”, points out one of the cashiers.

The local police chief assures that some neighbors have told him that Messina Denaro regularly went to the San Vito bar, next to his apartment, or to the Don Peppe pizzeria. In said restaurant, while the news shows the images of the town and the arrest of the godfather on a loop, the response is similar. “Look, I'm not the only one who makes pizza here. It will be another pizzeria. And if he came, I didn't see him. A lot of people pass through here, fortunately for us”.

Giuseppe Castiglione, Mayor of Campobello di Mazara.Paolo Manzo

The mayor of the town, Giuseppe Castiglione, denies to this newspaper that the town has protected the gangster. “Surely there has been collusion with people who have protected him. But out of 11,000 inhabitants, perhaps there have been five or six. That can't mean this is a mafia town. Besides, I don't think he's lived 30 years in our city. He will have moved and found all kinds of people who have helped him. And I hope they are all stopped." But another proof of how some residents did know who that fugitive was is provided by the town's family doctor, Alfonso Tumbarello, who was in charge of monitoring Messina Denaro (who was supposedly Andrea Bonafede). The problem is that the real Bonafede, the surveyor who had lent him the documentation and the house, had also been his patient for years.

Messina Denaro, in any case, is another type of fugitive. His routine has nothing to do with the life that the other two great bosses who preceded him led while they were on the run: Totò Riina and Bernardo Provenzano. In fact, they have been published now selfies that was done with the nurses of the hospital where cancer was treated in Palermo. A patient has also stated that she was texting some of her chemo coworkers. They thought they were corresponding, of course, with a certain Andrea Bonafede (the identity she took from a childhood friend from the town where she was hiding).

Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.


The mafia boss began to frequent the clinic more frequently in the last year. The colon cancer he suffered from metastasized to the liver, and he periodically required chemotherapy treatment. His departures from home increased and some sources believe that, in part, the disease led him to further relax his security habits.

Police officers in the Sicilian town of Campobello di Mazzara, where Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro was taking refuge. Photo: Paolo Manzo | Video: Reuters

Follow all the international information on Facebook Y Twitteror in our weekly newsletter.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits

Author Profile

Nathan Rivera
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nathan Rivera, a dedicated journalist who has had the privilege of writing for the online newspaper Today90. My journey in the world of journalism has been a testament to the power of dedication, integrity, and passion.

My story began with a relentless thirst for knowledge and an innate curiosity about the events shaping our world. I graduated with honors in Investigative Journalism from a renowned university, laying the foundation for what would become a fulfilling career in the field.

What sets me apart is my unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth. I refuse to settle for superficial answers or preconceived narratives. Instead, I constantly challenge the status quo, delving deep into complex issues to reveal the reality beneath the surface. My dedication to investigative journalism has uncovered numerous scandals and shed light on issues others might prefer to ignore.

I am also a staunch advocate for press freedom. I have tirelessly fought to protect the rights of journalists and have faced significant challenges in my quest to inform the public truthfully and without constraints. My courage in defending these principles serves as an example to all who believe in the power of journalism to change the world.

Throughout my career, I have been honored with numerous awards and recognitions for my outstanding work in journalism. My investigations have changed policies, exposed corruption, and given a voice to those who had none. My commitment to truth and justice makes me a beacon of hope in a world where misinformation often prevails.

At Today90, I continue to be a driving force behind journalistic excellence. My tireless dedication to fair and accurate reporting is an invaluable asset to the editorial team. My biography is a living testament to the importance of journalism in our society and a reminder that a dedicated journalist can make a difference in the world.