French President Macron has acknowledged that his country is to blame for the consequences of the nuclear tests conducted by France in French Polynesia last century. Macron, who visits the overseas area, did not go so far as to apologize to the South Pacific islands.
Between 1966 and 1996, France conducted nearly 200 nuclear tests on the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls. It was only in 1996 that the trials were completed in the past, when France joined the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty under great international pressure; an international agreement that prohibits tests.
“I want truth and transparency,” Macron said in the capital Papeete on Tahiti. He also said that there should be a better damage scheme for victims. At the time of nuclear tests, Tahiti was exposed to radioactive radiation 500 times higher than the maximum permissible level.
The French nation has a blame for French Polynesia, Macron literally said. “Risks were taken that were not measured, even by the military. I dont think we would have done the same tests in Brittany, for example. We did it here because it was farther away.”
The locals probably wont settle for the disguised excuses. In Papeete, thousands of protesters were on their feet who demand nothing less than a full-fledged excuse, especially for the victims who have suffered cancer due to radiation.
Five years ago, President Hollande also visited French Polynesia. He already acknowledged that nuclear tests had a detrimental impact on human health and the environment. Official documents showed that much earlier.
In 2010, the French government freed hundreds of millions of euros to compensate the inhabitants of French Polynesia. The money was also destined for Algeria, where nuclear tests were conducted until the country became independent from France in 1962.
Greenpeace has taken action against French atomic trials in French Polynesia for years. New protests were planned in 1985, but even before they could begin, the French secret service put an end to it.
The Rainbow Warrior ship was in the port of New Zealand Auckland ready to lead a protest fleet against nuclear tests. The ship wanted to sail to Moruroa, but two bombs prevented that: they hit a big hole in the hull.
Fernando Pereira, a Dutch photographer of Portuguese descent, drowned while trying to save his photo material from his cabin. The French spy who infiltrated Greenpeace and passed the information to Paris said in an interview a few years ago that she was doing her job and doesnt want to apologize.