New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1986
“Cuomo was a symbol of America, which during those years hosted collaborators who wanted out of Cosa Nostra and then got their bosses arrested. His death would have sent a strong signal to New York. It would have made them understand what happens to those who stand in the Mafia’s way,” he said.
A reporter for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera asked Cuomo after his arrival on Nov. 19, 1992, if an Italian last name was a liability for an American politician.
“Of course, any Italian-American politician risks being associated with the Mafia, not least because the media continuously plays on this image,” Cuomo replied.
[. . .]
“The American politician arrived with extremely tight surveillance, lots of bodyguards and a bulletproof car. It made the execution impossible,” Avola said. “Reluctantly, Aldo Ercolano ordered the men of honor to withdraw.”
Known as “Occhi di Ghiaccio” or Ice Eyes, Avola is believed to have killed about 80 people before becoming an informer. Authorities acting on a tip collared him in 1993, a day after he killed a former friend and fellow Mafioso, the paper reported.
The Mafia wanted to whack Mario Cuomo in Italy in 1992
By Yaron Steinbuch
New York Post
March 11, 2016 | 11:53am
* * *
Sicilian mobsters were planning to whack the then governor of New York while he was visiting Messina, prolific Cosa Nostra hitman Maurizio Avola revealed from behind bars.
A dozen Kalashnikov and explosive-wielding gangsters were called off just days before the mafia were set to ambush Cuomo.
Avola, 54, said mafia bosses told their 'men of honor' to stand down after realizing the extent of the governor's security detail.
According to Avola, who was jailed in 1994 for his involvement in 43 murders and 40 armed robberies, Casa Nostra mobsters wanted to escalate their attacks on prominent figures.
He told the Guardian that his godfather, Aldo Ercolana, said Cuomo would be an 'excellent target'.
The mob had recently assassinated Italian anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino when the attack on Cuomo was planned.
The mob had recently assassinated Italian anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone (above) and Paolo Borsellino (below) when the attack on Cuomo was planned.
'The aim was to target politicians or members of institutions in order to send out a clear message,' Avola said in messages passed on by his lawyer.
Avola said Cuomo's death would send a 'strong signal to New York' that its policy of taking in mafia collaborators would come at a price.
'It would have made them understand what happens to those who stand in the Mafia's way,' he said.
Cuomo arrived in Rome in November 1992 and was set to travel to Messina days later.
The mafia planned a gun and bomb attack on the governor in broad daylight, while other gangsters were instructed to block off escape routes.
But Avola said the assassination was called off after realizing it was unlikely to succeed.
'The American politician arrived with extremely tight surveillance, lots of bodyguards and a bulletproof car. It made the execution impossible,' he said.
'Reluctantly, Aldo Ercolano ordered the 'men of honour' to withdraw.'
A source at Palermo Magistrates' Court told the Guardian that an investigation into the attempted murder of Cuomo is still open.
Cuomo's visit to Messina passed without incident and he died from heart failure on New Year's Day, 2015, aged 82.
His son, Andrew Cuomo, is the current governor of New York.
Avolo was arrested in 1993 and jailed a year later. Believing the police had been tipped off by a fellow mafioso, he decided to cooperate with the police.
With his help, the police arrested more than 100 members of the Sicilian mob.
Despite being involved in the murders of dozens of people, Avola is set to be freed in 2019 because of the help he gave to police.
Mafia planned to kill Mario Cuomo in Italy in 1992: Mobster bosses called off a dozen Kalashnikov-wielding assassins just days before trip, prolific hitman reveals from jail
The mafia planned to kill Mario Cuomo in Italy in 1992, hitman revealed
Cosa Nostra assassin Maurizio Avola said mob wanted to whack governor
A dozen Kalashnikov and explosive-wielding gangsters were in Messina
But the mafia called off the attack after seeing NY governor's security detail
By OLLIE GILLMAN FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 16:01 EST, 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 19:30 EST, 11 March 2016