Aldo Moro: 49 years since he was kidnapped and executed by the Red Brigades

The story of one of the most well-known and dark political murders of the 20th century, that of the Italian Prime Minister since it was written one day today, on March 16, 1978, 49 years ago with the kidnapping of a progressive politician who wanted the Communist Party to be part of the government. The calendar was March 16, 1978, 9 a.m. A group of members of the Red Brigades ambushed the centre of Rome to the former Prime Minister of Italy, Aldo Moro, performing his escorts and kidnapping him. After fruitless negotiations of 55 days with the Italian government and after the kidnappers realized that their demands would not be accepted, they murdered Moro on May 9. It was by far the most important event in Italy’s political history. In those days, the formation of a National Unity government was monopolized with the participation of the Christian Democrats of Giulio Andreotti and the Communist Party of Italy, causing the distress of many, including the US. On the morning of March 16, the new cabinet led by Julio Andreotti would submit a proposal to give the Italian parliament a vote of confidence, Aldo Moro’s car, then president of the Christian Democrats, was attacked by a group of Red Brigade terrorists in Rome. The gunmen firing with automatic weapons, killed Moro’s two bodyguards and three policemen following in another car and kidnapped him. Moro had left his home just before 9:00, within a blue Fiat 130, driven by Domenico Richie, while next to him sat Oreste Leonardo, head of the bodyguard group. Behind them was a white Alfetta, in which Moro’s other three bodyguards, Francesco Zichi, Giulio Rivera and Rafaele Iocino were located. When the two cars entered Mario Fani Street, the terrorists were alerted by Rita Algranatti, who was on the corner of the road with Trionfale Street. Algranati coded a bouquet of flowers and then left the spot with a moped. Moretti’s Fiat cut off the road in Moro’s car from the front. Richie tried to do a maneuver to escape, but he didn’t make it. Immediately after, the Fiat of Lojacono closed the road in Moro’s two cars from the back. At the same time, the four armed terrorists in Alitalia’s uniforms who were hidden in bushes next to the street, began shooting the bodyguards. A total of 91 bullets were fired, 45 of which succeeded – and killed – Moro’s five escorts. Two FNAB-43 submachine guns and revolvers were used in the ambush, including a Beretta M12. Moro was forced into Fiat 132 of Segeti, which was abandoned a few blocks away, in Via Licinio Calvo and found at 9:40 with some blood stains inside him. The rest of the cars used in the ambush were found in the next few days on the same road. It is typical that none of the five bodyguards were armed on the day of the kidnapping, all their weapons were stored in bags in the trunks of the two cars. They never expected to be attacked. But the incredible revelation came from Moro’s wife, Eleanor Kiavarelli, who during the trial, said the guns were in the trunks because the guards didn’t know how to use them! Kiavareli added that bodyguards had not even been trained in shooting, while for months Moro’s car radio was not working! A short time after the kidnapping, the Red Brigades took responsibility by calling the Italian news agency ANSA. At 10:00 Pietro Ingrao, president of the Italian House of Representatives, interrupted the meeting and announced that Moro had been kidnapped. On the same day, Giulio Andreotti’s government gathered the absolute majority. “Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades” La Repubblica wrote on her front page on March 17, 1978. “Lefters kidnap Italian Prime Minister” noted on their cover the New York Times. Where did they take him after the kidnapping? Exactly where Aldo Moro was held after his abduction has not yet been established. An apartment in Via Camillo Montalcini, Rome or a house overlooking the sea? The exact location of the kidnapped former Italian Prime Minister is a matter of debate. Like almost everything related to the “Moro Case” as it has been known in Italy. In fact, the kidnappers made sure to cloud in every way the place where they kept their prisoner in a hostage that lasted a total of 55 days. Aldo Moro appears to have written 86 letters while he was a hostage. But with his family, other politicians and others the Pope of Rome. Some of them reached their destination while others were found after the case ended. It seems, however, that he has never been tortured by the members of the Red Brigades. At the same time there were voices that spoke of a “stocket syndrome” on his part. “The interrogation, whose content is already known, continues with the full cooperation of the prisoner,” the kidnappers wrote, in one of their many communications with authorities and media. The whole of Italy, from parliament to the smallest village, was on foot. The Red Brigades called for the release of their comrades from prison or they would execute Moro. The end of Despite long investigations and trials, the exact details of Aldo Moro’s kidnapping and murder are not fully known. According to the official representation in the ensuing trials, eleven people participated in the attack. AP-AE file photo On May 9, 1978, Moro was murdered. There was an anonymous call to the police. His shooters put him in a trunk, threw a red sheet over him, shot him, the 10 bullets pierced his lungs and eventually left his body inside a Renault. The urban myth wants the particular point of Rome to be almost as far away from both the offices of the Christian Democratic and those of the Communist Party. Aldo Moro’s killer, he was considered the arrested Mario Moretti to be tried and sentenced to life imprisonment, but, after serving 15 years in prison, he was released on terms in 1998. Who was Aldo Moro Aldo Romeo Luigi Moro was born in 1916 in Mali, a small town near Leche, at the southernmost end of Apulia, in southeastern Italy. Professor of law, Italian politician and leader of the Christian Democratic Party, served five times as Prime Minister of Italy (63–64, 1964–66, 1966–68, 1974–76 and 1976). Aldo Moro studied law at the University of Barry where he later took a position as a regular professor. In 1941 he begins his involvement in politics as he is elected president of the Federation of Catholic Students of the University. After several years, during which a brilliant academic career follows, in 1946, Moro is elected a member of the Editorial Assembly who helped draw up the new Italian Constitution. In 1948 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives where he served, as a member, until his violent death in 1978. During the 1970s, he was one of the most important political leaders. Italian Communist Party leader Enrico Berlinguer, who had received 34.4% of the vote in the June 1976 election, had proposed cooperation between Communists and Christian Democrats, the so-called historic compromise, at a time of serious economic, social and political crisis in Italy. Moro then, was one of those who helped to find a way to eventually form a government of “national solidarity”, as president of the Christian Democrats. Head of the parliamentary alliance served as Prime Minister of the country from 1963 to 1968, again from 1974 to 1976. In 1945 he married Eleanor Kiavareli, with whom he had four children. Because several vague aspects remain but also failures from the police side regarding its kidnapping and glorious end, conspiracy theories are widely popular. Conspiracy theorists argue that Moro was eventually sacrificed due to the Cold War policy, that both sides welcomed his abduction and that, refusing to negotiate, led him to his death. The judges who investigated the Moro case rejected all these conspiracy theories, arguing that there is no evidence supporting these interpretations of Moro’s case, and while recognizing that Moro had strong political enemies, they insisted that conspiracy theorists had made too many assumptions. It is widely considered that the Red Brigades chose Moro because of his role as mediator between the Christian Democrats and the Communist Party, the two main parties in Italy at the time, which had both participated in the 4th Andreotti Cabinet. It was the first time since 1947 that Italian communists had a government position, even indirectly. The success of the kidnapping would thus stop the rise of communists in Italian state institutions, reassuring the Red Brigades as a key point in a future revolutionary war against capitalism. According to others the Red Brigades were intended to strike the entire Christian Democratic Party that was the main expresser of a regime which, as described in the first announcement after the kidnapping “…stood the Italian people for years”. Finding the body was a huge shock to all of Italy, plunged into mourning. Although nearly two months had passed since Moro’s abduction and there had been no progress in the negotiations, the Italians believed that even at the last minute blood would not be shed. Immediately after the murder news, Interior Minister Francesco Cosiga resigned, for whom Moro, in one of his letters, had written “my blood will fall upon him.” The kidnapping took a few minutes to take place, the hostage lasted 55 days but 49 years after the “Aldo Moro Case” looks like it has not been fully resolved.