Caserta, the mafia party

Songs, dances, screams. And then thousands of dollars fly in the air, launched by the bosses. They all run to collect them. These are the rites of the nigerian clans that control the drugs and prostitution in Campania. They celebrate them in hotels on  Via Domiziana, within walking distance from the police.



Music, dancing, singing: and then they all bend over to pick up all the bills on the ground. There are dozens and dozens. thousands of dollars fly: and the children enjoy picking them, chasing each other with batons in their hands.


Castel Volturno, Caserta, Italy.  The drug and prostitution lords throw money in the air : the Nigerian bosses who run the illegal traffics that are expanding throughout the peninsula by Domitian Coast and often soar beyond the Alps.


But here we are behind the gate of an ordinary restaurant, in broad daylight. The patrols sent by Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, are just a few tens of meters out there: they control at the passing cars. But no one comes and see in places where they sing, dance, drink and it rains dollars, which are picked up by the poorest guests of the party.


Opportunities to celebrate these parties that involve the mafia nigerian community of Castel Volturno, are the most varied. Any ceremony, as the presentation of dowry for a woman, a baptism, a wedding, a promotion, or even a funeral, they become occasions for ostentation of money, in which the drug barons and the colonels who control the territory prostitution traffic display their wealth.


It may seem like just folklore, but what is at stake is the "respect"  of the largest Nigerian community in Italy, and that means ensuring the strategic support for territorial control, terminals and antennas, and the assurance of continuous monitoring of the changes that occur in criminal markets. A stakes so high that happen to see people who come from other parts of Italyand even from other european countries, members of the Nigerian community, and the most influential factions, have come to take part in these celebrations.


The ceremonies are also religiously motivated, linked to one of the many Pentecostal churches emerged on Via Domiziana, the street where only two and a half years ago, the boss Giuseppe Setola and his gang left lying on the ground riddled with bullets, six young North Africans


"There is a very close relationship between these parties and the concept of prosperity of the Pentecostal churches, " says Luigi Mosca, professor at the University of Perugia and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, a scholar of Castel Volturno's immigrants, "These rites have a social and cultural value, the reaffirmation of social hierarchies among immigrants from Nigeria: that is what has been called 'theology ofprosperity', which does not consider the enrichment a sin to be condemned, but a believer's quality  to be exploited. "


In short, there is the belief that wealth and success are the result of a divine blessing, and the beneficiary of that has to be revered and admired. Although it is a drug boss or young women trafficker.


So the gazebos, assembled for the occasion in the garden, report the names of the various gangs, alongside those of the associations of "Madame" women who control the market of prostitution: "Often the people who run the street girls are the same who play important roles in the religious community,"says Mosca.


Dollars rain on the streets of Castel Volturno, and the "Caserta model" flaunted by Maroni is out, a few yards away.


Translated from L' Espresso