The issue of nuclear tests was one of the main reasons for the president’s trip Emmanuel Macron to me French PolynesianWhere he admitted the existence of “religion” with this region in the Pacific Ocean. So far, no government has formally apologized for the more than 200 tests that have been taken over 30 years at the site.
She had to wait until 42 minutes from the last speech on Macron’s four-day trip to French Polynesia. At the headquarters of the local government, in front of hundreds of people, their necks adorned with traditional local flower necklaces, the French president finally mentioned this sensitive matter.
“I wanted to tell you that the nation owes a debt to French Polynesia. For a long time, the state has preferred to remain silent about this past. It has been 30 years of successive explosions. What I want to break today is this silence. And we want truth and transparency with you.”
Fulfilling the promises must begin with opening military files on the controversial nuclear tests conducted in the territory from 1966 to 1996. The initiative will allow Polynesians to know the location and intensity of these exercises, which left thousands of victims – many of whom are still suffering today. from cancer.
Therefore, the French president also promised better compensation to those affected. According to him, the state organs will be responsible for finding potential victims in the distant archipelagos of the territory.
“Believe me because I trust you. It takes time. I tell you everything I know: in front of you, I suppose and confess. I wish that together we can cast off these clouds and this shadow, because together we have a new one, the writing page is made of ambition and future.”
However, there is one word, long overdue by Polynesians, that he did not utter: sorry. Macron refused the request because, he says, like General de Gaulle at the time, he does not know if he was in the same situation as he could also have ordered the nuclear tests.
“I can get off the subject by apologizing, as we do when we bump into someone so we can continue our journey, but that’s too easy. And it’s too easy for a president of my generation to somehow say that my ancestors were wrong, that the worst has happened.”
For him, the tests at that time were chosen so that it is France Nuclear weapons can be relied upon, “especially for the defense of French Polynesia.”
30 years of nuclear testing
In 1966, under the command of General Charles de Gaulle, France transferred its test ground in the Sahara desert to the atolls of Moruroa and Fangatova, where it conducted 193 nuclear exercises in the atmosphere until 1974, and underground until 1996.
Macron admitted that the same type of testing would not have been carried out “in Cruz or Brittany”, regions of mainland France. “They were made here because it was so far away, because it was a lost place in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,” he assumed.
The announcements come five years after then-French President François Hollande acknowledged during a 2016 visit the “environmental and health impact” of nuclear testing in Polynesia. At that time, the head of state made a series of promises, but many of them have not yet been fulfilled, such as the opening of a monument dedicated to this cause.
French Polynesia President Edouard Fritsch celebrated Macron’s speech. According to him, “After 25 years of silence, the truth will finally be put on the table.”
However, for victims, the ads fall short. “There has been no progress, only demagoguery. The lies of the state persist,” August 193 President Obie Carlson criticized.
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