Castellace di Oppido Mamertina, Italy - 3 September, 2012: Francesco, a 32 years old worker for the non-profit organization Libera Terra, removes the burned roots of olive trees set on fire by the 'Ndrangheta (a Mafia-type criminal organisation based in Calabria) with a crane, 3 days after a digger was set on fire in the same field in Castellace di Oppido Mamertina, Italy, on September 3rd, 2012. Libera terra, which is a non profit organisation uses the land that has been confiscated to mafia bosses to produce a range of organic foods and wines, including olive oil, pasta, marmalades, jams, legumes and preserves as well as a large selection of typically southern Italian produce.
Calabria is one of the poorest Italian regions which suffers from lack of basic services (hospitals without proper equipment, irregular electricity and water), the product of disparate political interests vying for power. The region is dominated by the 'Ndrangheta (pronounced en-Drang-get-A), which authorities say is the most powerful in Italy because it is the welthiest and best organized.
The region today has nearly 20 percent unemployment, 40 percent youth unemployment and among the lowest female unemployment and broadband Internet levels in Italy. Business suffer since poor infrastructure drives up transport costs.
Last summer the European Union's anti-fraud office demanded that Italy redirect 380 million euros in structural funding away from the A3 Salerno - Reggio Calabria highway after finding widespread evidence of corruption in the bidding processes.
- ©2012 Gianni Cipriano
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