Widow of a mafia family, Pié Aiello [Partanna, Sicillia, 1967] disappeared from the map in 1991. He attended the brutal murder of her husband, Nicolo Atria, son of a gangster boss, and entered the witness protection program. He began to tell what he knew to prosecutors, sending a few to jail. It was his way of escaping the past. A short time later, he also obtained a new identity.
Aiello she felt satisfied, but after the years she could no longer bear the weight of that decision. In 2018, she presented – first, without showing her face – to the general elections, won them and was elected deputy in the Italian Congress. The event raised such a stir that some opponents argued that their baptism name no longer existed and that their choice was not valid. But, finally, the courts proved him right.
-Lets start by the beginning. What was your family like?
-Humble. A family of bread and onion. My father was a worker; My mother, seamstress. We emigrated to Venezuela after the terrible earthquake in the Belize Valley [afectó a las provincias de Trapani, Agrigento y Palermo] 1968. I was barely a few months old and my sister was born in America. We returned to my town six years later because my father wanted us to study in Italian schools.
– How did you get in touch with a mafia family? Have you ever talked about a “forced marriage” with your husband.
-I met him when I was 14 and he, 17. We started dating, although saying we were in love would be exaggerated. In that very patriarchal Sicily, as my father did not allow me to go out on the street alone, I quickly ennopt. It was at the Atria house when I began to realize that this family was not like mine.
-In what sense?
– In my house it was discussed, while in the Atria family everything that a person decided was done: Don Vito [el mafioso y padre de Nicolo]. On leaving, they kissed his hands. I began to suspect. One day, a friend told me that Don Vito was a gangster. Then I went and asked him.
“I broke up with Don Vito’s son [Atria] and after two hours he came and, without asking the reasons, told me that he would remain his daughter-in-law for the rest of my life “
– What did he answer?
He laughed in my face and explained that what he was doing was resolving disputes. He told me: “If they steal a tractor, I find it; if they steal a sheep, I will recover it; if anyone fights, I will find a way to solve it.”
– Did he believe you?
-Do not. Days later I broke up the courtship, but after two hours Don Vito came to see me. Without asking why I had broken the relationship, he told me that no matter where he went, I would remain his daughter-in-law for the rest of my life. In those years they killed you for much less.
– Wait, that was a threat.
-Yes. If I didn’t marry his son, they would kill my mother and father. So I accepted, of course, in the hope of being able to get my husband away from that world one day. But he did not want to listen to me, and in the end they killed him, because he discovered who was responsible for the murder of his father [en 1985].
– They were terrible years in Sicily.
– Those were the years when the drug was arriving. The new generations had seen the business and wanted to profit, while the old ones had not. That was the breeding ground that led to the ‘Mattanza’ [la segunda guerra de la Mafia], which was triggered not only in Palermo [donde Toto Riina y Bernardo Provenzano orquestaron los peores ataques], but also in Trapani, where Matteo Messina Denaro was, who is still on the run.
– To which clan belonged his father-in-law?
-Until the war, in Partanna, my people, the Accardo and the Ingoglia ruled. It was a group run by some old ‘bonnets’, including my father-in-law. His business was mainly the ‘pizzo’ [impuesto mafioso]. The old mafia was also disgusting, but they had some respect for people.
–And you found out everything?
– I listened secretly and recorded it in newspapers. He did it because he had no one else to talk to. Imagine: you find out about a homicide and what do you do? I couldn’t tell a friend, or my parents, or my husband. The few times I did it, he crushed me.
– Everyone knew but nobody knew. That’s how it worked.
“Didn’t he think about running away?”
– They had made it very clear what would happen if I left. In addition, in the Sicily of those years nobody understood the importance of denouncing. I was one of the first women.
–When Judge Paolo Borsellino [también asesinado por la mafia] He saw those diaries of his should not give credit.
– After the murder of my husband, they understood that the case was complex and then, one day, they took me to a police station in Terrasini, a small coastal town. There I saw Borsellino for the first time, with his mustache and his cigarette. He had such a strong accent that I told him that I had the feeling that he was also a gangster.
– Pretty bold, you.
– Let’s say it has always been the way to hide the fear I felt.
“I didn’t want to be a ‘widow of the Mafia’, that never denounces and looks for ‘vendetta’. I went to court, said what I knew and that’s it “
–What did you decide to witness?
– My husband was murdered in front of my eyes. One of them was a childhood friend, another was a hired hitman whom they called ‘El Abogadillo’. But I made the decision on Nicolo’s funeral day, when I saw some relatives with the black handkerchief, who mourned all those killed. I thought: “Do I want to be one of those ‘widows of the Mafia’?” No and no. I told myself that.
– How are the ‘widows of the mafia’?
-They are women who know who the murderer was, never report and look for ‘vendetta’.
– How many have you arrested?
– Frankly, I don’t know. To much.
– Do you know anything about these people’s lives?
-Do not. I went to court, said what I knew and that’s it. I did not do it for revenge.
– Why then?
– So that they understood that human life cannot be available. There is a common basis of legality that must be respected. It’s easy to hire someone and tell them to kill a person. But it is not fair.
“I have entered politics to try to put anti-mafia measures back in the center of the debate “
– In spite of everything lived, he decided to enter politics.
– It is an attempt to place anti-mafia measures at the center of the political debate again.
–How many protected witnesses are there in Italy?
– About 120, although those who are still actively in the system are about 50. On the other hand, there are 7,000 ‘pentiti’ [exmafiosos que decidieron colaborar con el Estado]. But in Italy the system is not working well.
-In what sense?
– Psychological attention is insufficient, for example. There are only three specialists for everyone and they are in Rome, where there are no protected witnesses. And the economic support for those who are actively in the program is scarce, which discourages. There is much to do.