Mussolini great grandson mulls political career
ROME -- Caio Julius Caesar Mussolini, the great grandson of World War II dictator Benito Mussolini, is poised to run as candidate for the "post-Fascist" Fratelli d'Italia party in Italian general elections in 2018, saying he has more potential to emulate his grandfather and bring order back to Italy than his flamboyant aunt, European MP Alessandra Mussolini.
"She had been an actress and then she was elected without experience," the 50-year-old former navy officer told the Corriere della Sera, "I was in the Navy, I have two degrees and speak three languages"
Caio is the son of Guido Mussolini, who in turn was son of Vittorio Mussolini, the first born child of il Duce. Guido dabbled in far right politics was involved in the ultra-right Forza Nuova party while Alessandra represented the 'post-fascist' National Alliance as a national MP.
However none of the previous, lightweight Mussolini heirs made a lasting success of trying to re-creating the Duce's charisma, Caius claims to be more of a chip of great grandfather's block, having served as a submariner in the Italian navy and worked as a businessman in Venezuela and the Middle East.
As Signor Mussolin tells it, growing up with the Fascist strongman as an ancestor was at times a heavy cross to bear.
“I was attacked from the first for my name,” he added. “I lived through a paradox. At school or in some sectors of the press, I heard everything bad about fascism. But my people at home and those who had lived through the Fascist era told me everything was good.”
“By studying I learned that there were negative and positive aspects, that it was a complex period of history and a period that closed.”
Nevertheless he is convinced that latter day Italians remain fascinated by his family name.
“Fascism was the Italians, their energy and mediocrity. This passion for the strongman, for example, is very Latin. And it lives on today.”
The dictator’s great grandson pours scorn on left-wing politicians concerned about the vociferous activities on the peninsula of neo-Nazi skinheads or the ultr-right CasaPound party, named after the Fascist American poet Ezra Pound, which did unexpectedly well in recent local elections in the seaside Roman town of Ostia.
“I am not very well up on them. Certainly the (left-wing) social centres represent more of a threat to public order,” he quips.
Italy, he asserts, is seen abroad as being “on the ropes. We count for nothing internationally and (foreign minister Angelino) Alfano is a pathetic minister.”
“There is no respect for rules and the country lacks a sense of civic duty and the principle of authority.”
Caius smiles when asks about recent remarks by his aunt Alessandra, who hit headlines by saying Il Duce would have crushed violent Mafia clans in Ostia “within two or three months.”
“That was a wisecrack. One man alone is not enough. Alessandra and I had a different path.”
Speaking on the fringes of a primary candidate selection committee for the Fratelli D’Italia party headed by fiery conservative politician Giorgia Meloni, Caio remained coy about speculation over his imminent political career.
“For the moment it is only an idea. I am here to watch and understand, like a submariner … a surname can be a double-edged sword.”