Rosarno, Italy - 1 September, 2012: A man on a Vespa passes by a storage area in Rosarno, Italy, a mafia stronghold on September 1st, 2012.
Rosarno is an agricultural area best known for the violent race riots that erupted here in January 2010. and for being a hotbed of the 'Ndrangheta, a Mafia-type criminal organisation based in Calabria. The local 'Ndrangheta dominates the fruit and vegetable businesses in the area, according to Francesco Forgione, a former head of Italy's parliamentary Antimafia Commission. In December 2008, the entire town council was dissolved on orders from the central government and replaced by a prefectoral commissioner because it had been infiltrated by 'Ndrangheta members and their known associates.
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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