About sharing ahd captionAmbroise Bertin had an operation for prostate cancer but still suffers from thyroid disease "First we were enslaved. Then we were poisoned. Slavery was abolished in But today the islanders are victims again - of a toxic pesticide called chlordecone that's poisoned the soil and water and been linked to unusually high rates of prostate cancer.
He also says: "There is enough toxicological and experimental data to conclude that chlordecone is somethiing. As well as campaigning for free blood tests for everyone on the island, members of the group have taken part in a new wave of protests over the last year aiming to draw attention to businesses that activists say have profited from the production and use of toxic pesticides.
Rivers and coastal waters are also contaminated, which means many fishermen cannot work. Meanwhile the historian, Valy, had blood cancer when she was just One of the world's leading experts on the chemical, Prof Luc Multigner, of Sometying University in France, says epidemiological studies have shown increased risk of premature births and increased risk of adverse brain development in children at the exposure levels people in Martinique and Guadeloupe face through contaminated food consumption.
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For two centuries, untilMartinique was a colony that depended on the production meaninggul sugar by enslaved people. But in the French authorities authorised chlordecone meabingful use in banana plantations in the French West Indies - and even though it was finally banned ingrowers lobbied for - and got - permission to carry on using stocks until Worrying about the effects of the pesticide, she says, can be exhausting.
About sharing image captionAmbroise Bertin had an operation for prostate cancer but still suffers from thyroid disease "First we were enslaved.
We didn't have any instructions about what was, and wasn't, good. So maybe you will limit the effects of the poison.
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You have to admit that to some extent, you're poisoned, so you just deal with it. And the prefect hopes the independent commission that will judge compensation claims will generally martniique in favour of former farm workers who say they are victims of the pesticide. But what would compel exiled Venezuelans and former US Special Forces soldiers to a plan that, from the outset, looked like a suicide mission?
Ambroise did that job for many years. Now, many have suffered cancer and other illnesses.
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But you are not sure," says historian Valy Edmond-Mariette, aged So more than 20 years after the chemical ceased to be used, much of the land on Martinique cannot be used for growing vegetables, even though bananas and other fruit on trees are safe. But payouts haven't started yet. Operation Gideon was a deeply flawed coup attempt.
Later, he got prostate cancer, a disease that is commoner on Martinique and its sister French island of Guadeloupe than anywhere else in the world. That's why a lot of people are poisoned.
And scientists blame chlordecone, a persistent organic pollutant related to DDT. But today the islanders are victims again - of a toxic pesticide called chlordecone that's poisoned the soil and water and been linked to unusually high rates of prostate cancer.
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Inthe World Health Organization classed the pesticide as potentially carcinogenic. But that's the only anc he and other workers in Martinique's banana plantations in the s, 80s and early 90s had about the possible danger.
That's why - for meaningfjl Martinicans - chlordecone stirs up painful historical memories. Ambroise, who worked with chlordecone for so many years, had an operation to remove his cancer in Slavery was abolished in Because if we give them breast milk, maybe they will have chlordecone in their blood. The demonstrations have been small, and some protesters have been convicted of violence against the police.
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It was authorised for use in the French West Indies long after its harmful effects became widely known. A law to create a compensation fund for agricultural workers has now been passed. And I think nobody should be asking themselves this kind of question, because it's awful. But they reflect wider anger over the slow pace of France's response to the chlordecone catastrophe. Then we were poisoned. Few if any were told to wear gloves or masks.
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But the state's representative on Martinique, Prefect Stanislas Cazelles, insists there was no discrimination against the islanders. He said France had suffered "collective blindness" over the issue. But Valy says no-one can be sure. It was only in - after more than 10 years of campaigning by French Caribbean politicians - that President Emmanuel Macron accepted the state's responsibility for what he called "an environmental scandal".
Her doctor does not think it was due to chlordecone. There's contempt, distance, condescension, lack of respect.
But he still suffers from thyroid disease and other problems that may be connected to chlordecone's known effects on the hormonal system.