Toxic Tropics



To begin this issue, we offer to change a little bit our regular formats in including two double-pages from the graphic novel Tropiques Toxiques (Steinkis, 2020) created by Jessica Oublié with drawings by Nicola Gobbi and Kathrine Avraam and photographs by Vinciane Lebrun.

Tropiques Toxiques consists in an illustrated report of Oublié’s investigation on the use of chlordecone pesticide (also known as Kepone in the United States) in Guadeloupe and Martinique’s banana farms between 1972 and 1993. The toxic product was banned everywhere in France in 1990 but, under the pressure of local capitalists (many of whom are Békés, i.e. descendants of French enslavers), the French government authorized the extension of its use in its Caribbean colonies for three additional years. Oublié talked with experts, farmers, workers, and activists to retrace the ways this colonial deadly exception came to be, the impact on Martiniquean and Guadeloupean people, soil, and water, as well as the activist and/or ecological projects undertaken to resist this colonial ecocide. The excerpts we are presenting here are pages 62-63 and 166-167 in the book. The person with the pink hat represents Oublié herself.