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Martinique’s tough choice

A referendum on independence is due, but saying farewell to the “free baguette” may prove unpalatable to many in France's neo-empire

By Philip Clothier   October 2009

The Martiniquan newspaper shows Nicolas Sarkozy stooping for a photo call. He is squashed against a small, middle-aged woman’s face, the pressure accentuating his worry lines, while releasing a look of joy on her own. On television news bulletins on the Caribbean island, Sarkozy looked just as ill at ease wandering around a pain-au-chocolat factory in Fort de France, Martinique’s capital, during his visit at the end of June.

Sarkozy’s visit was an attempt to meet the political discord currently dogging these parts. A general strike and weeks of rioting in Guadeloupe in January spread to Martinique and La Reunion…

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