Today, the good men of Italy celebrate the life of Enrico Mattei, a figure "whose greatness grows the more time goes by," as a former ENI direct Marcello Colitti put it.
Mattei was the founder of the Italian oil and chemical industry, the driving force of industrial reconstruction and modernization in Italy, and a fighter for independence and liberation of peoples from colonialism. He discovered natural gas in Italy and built a network of pipelines that provided cheap energy to Italian industry and households. He also built pipelines to Russia, Algeria and Germany.
Mattei was killed when a bomb placed on his private jet on Oct. 27, 1962, exploded while he was flying from Sicily to his base in Milan. He was murdered on the eve of a trip to the United States, where he was to meet with President John F. Kennedy, who supported Mattei's strategy. British Foreign Office papers recently published by authors Benito Livigni and Giovanni Fasanella show that the British had singled out Mattei as the Empire's public enemy and had considered his activities in Southwest Asia a casus belli.
ENI, the state-owned oil company that Mattei founded, still exists, but it has been partially privatized and reduced to its core activity. From a driver for development, it has become a global machine for "shareholder values."
Amidst the gravest crisis of postwar Italy, the figure of Enrico Mattei evokes the "golden period" of the economic boom. Thus, despite the dominant paradigm which is inimical to everything Mattei represented in terms of national sovereignty and independence as well as moral values, institutions are forced to pay him homage.
One of the most important commemorations, however, has been organized by LaRouche friend and Movisol member Andrea Pomozzi. Through his organization called "Piceno Tecnologie," Pomozzi has organized a two-day event including a film showing for high school students and two public debates: today with Marcello Colitti (90) former ENI director of Program and Development, and next week with author Benito Livigni.