That's why - for many Martinicans - chlordecone stirs up painful historical memories. "A lot of people talk about chlordecone like a new kind of slavery," says Valy, whose own ancestors were enslaved. For two centuries, until 1848, Martinique was a colony that depended on the production of sugar by enslaved people. And in the late 20th Century, some of the big banana growers who used chlordecone were the direct descendants of those slave-owning sugar exporters, part of a small white minority known as the békés.
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