Garbage crisis compounded by Northern prejudice
Anthony M. Quattrone
Stefano Caldoro, the governor of the Campania Region, is trying to head off a new garbage crisis in his region. He is not getting much support from political allies in Northern Italy. Caldoro heads a center-right coalition that was elected last March, following almost ten years of rule by former Communist Antonio Bassolino, whose regional government has been faulted for mismanaging the waste disposal system that brought images of Naples submerged with garbage on the front pages of newspapers world wide in 2008.
The governors of Piedmont, Roberto Cota, and Veneto, Luca Zaia, who are members of the Northern League party, belonging to Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition which heads the national government in Rome, have gone public in denying Caldoro any assistance finding a location to process thousands of tons of waste produced by Campania.
Zaia stated on 12 October 2010 that “on the waste management front, Campania needs to take care of itself , and it is a scandal that the army has had to intervene. I defend the people of Venetia and everyone must keep their garbage in their own home.” Zaia stated that he was by Caldoro’s side, and that he “has my solidarity, because it is shameful to see urban guerilla scenes. He is a friend and we are helping him also on the public health front, sending him top consultants from Veneto”.
Caldoro replied to Zaia’s “friendly fire” statement reiterating that the Northern League is “high and mighty”, behaving as an arrogant professor. Caldoro’s position appears to be in line with the feeling which is beginning to gain ground in Naples against preposterous arguments put forward by northern Italian politicians against the South.
Caldoro has taken a firm stand affirming that he will counter all gratuitous criticism arriving from the North. “I will reply” Caldoro stated, “at every arrogant attempt and attack against the South. If this arrogance will continue to arrive from the Northern League, then we will reply, tit for tat. We will fight and, in the end, logic will prevail. There are too many prejudices up North and too many acquired positions that they wish to defend, but we will win the challenge.”
The emerging conflict between Caldoro, Cota, and Zaia is a new element of concern for Silvio Berlusconi’s conflict-ridden center-right coalition. During the past three months, Berlusconi has had to deal with a schism in his Popolo della Libertà (People of Freedom) party which has led to the ouster of the party’s cofounder, Gianfranco Fini, and over thirty members of Parliament. Fini is the current president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.