Today was the first time I learned of someone I know and respect who lost his battle to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He was a 95 year-old political warrior and defender of freedom: Gaetano Rebecchini. He returned home to his Lord late yesterday, April 2 in his native city of Rome. Together with his son, Salvatore, he had been a loyal supporter of the Acton Institute’s work in Rome.
Gaetano was one of the founders of the Allianza Nazionale (AN) political party. His platform was based on principles of individual liberty, entrepreneurship, and limited government. The AN party enjoyed its heyday during the 1990s and early 2000s. It was the last prosperous decade Italy has had before falling into a 20 year economic and political slump defined by caretaker governments, 9 prime ministers, a growing sovereign debt crisis, and parliamentary mayhem.
Gaetano Rebecchini learned la buona politica (honest politics) from his father, the mayor of Rome immediately following World War II whose good administration ushered in a fast and efficient rebuilding process for the Eternal City. The following two decades proved to be an unprecedented economic boom and were characterized by widespread political peace.
In an Italian HuffPost article, we read a heartfelt tribute to Rebecchini (translation my own):
“The political right owes unending gratitude to Gaetano Rebecchini. In the early nineties…he led the growth and maturation of the Italian political right, contributing significantly to its reputation among institutional, business and religious sectors…His personal generosity and fairness, his great human and moral depth, his initiatives in many fields, made Gaetano Rebecchini an unforgettable role model…[He] was a great Italian, an extraordinary witness to our traditional national values, while challenging political correctness and representing the best of our country. Today, Italy lost a good, honest, courageous person, an example for present and future generations to come.”
Requiescat in pace, Gaetano.