Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion or fairness. In The Colombian Mule justice is represented in two main parts, the justice of law and order and the justice within criminal underworlds. But if there is one thing that is made clear in Carlotto’s novel it is that justice is corrupt. Neither the police nor the criminals reap justice without breaking and bending laws and morals. Alligator (Marco Buratti) is a fictional character based on Carlotto himself. Wrongly imprisoned, the case of Corradi is one that is close to his heart and something he does not want repeated on another. The Alligator’s sense of justice is heavily influenced by his past experiences. Old Rossini is an old time criminal and carries with him a set of rules and ethics he believes people (criminals) should follow, his idea of justice is one that is based entirely on these traditions. New types of crimes and new criminals have brought in new codes that all three main characters believe to be unjust. In this essay I will look at the ways in which Alligator and his team go about finding justice, the code of conduct Old Rossini lives his life by and how justice is important to criminal underworlds old and new, and finally I will look at how the police in The Columbian Mule are represented and if their methods to get justice are fair or if they even work.
The approaches Alligator and his team (specifically Rossini) use to uncover information are mostly illegal and regularly cruel. This is because they use their links within the criminal underworlds to retrieve names and leads in their investigations. Without them they couldn’t get any information from people. “Physical violence, blackmail and money are the springs that make people want to talk. They’re the only available tools and we have no option but to use them.”(Carlotto, 2003, pp. 83) Justice comes in so many forms that what some people view as justice others see as unfair. Many people would consider it unjust that Corradi was arrested for something he didn’t do. Some people would see it as him paying for the murders he was not convicted for. Alligator, Max and Rossini first see Corradi’s arrest as a mistake easily resolved, as they dig further into the case they discover it is not as simple as they first assumed. Nunziante the police officer who frames Corradi does so because he needs Celegato to bring down a big drugs syndicate and because he wants justice for the murder of two police officers (a murder committed by Corradi). Alligator and the others see Corradi’s arrest as a miscarriage of justice. He did not commit the crime and his previous crimes should have nothing to do with the present. John Rawls says “since we are of divided mind and our judgements conflict with those of other people, some of these judgements must eventually be revised, suspended or withdrawn”(Rawls, 2001, pp. 30). Despite the truth that lies in these words, there is no compromise for either side and neither has any intention to change. It is against the rules of the criminal underworld to do what Celegato did. You should never rat out your friends, that is why Corradi refuses to bring Celegato down so that he could be free “I’m not going to stop to his level”(Carlotto, 2003, pp.123) “The fact is, he has lived his entire life according to a particular rulebook” (Carlotto, 2003, pp. 121). It is not right, in the minds of all the criminals in this book, to bring your friends down even if they have ‘ratted’ you out. You settle your scores your way, they will receive a punishment just not prison. It is of equal if not more importance to all four men (Alligator, Rossini, Max and Corradi) to bring down the police than to get Corradi out of prison.
In the criminal underworlds such as the mafia and drug cartels they completely disregard external authority of any kind. They are not bothered by the law or by the