Purposefully, because the researchers could not perform such illegal experimentation on Americans, and therefore chose to do so on foreign peoples.
Secretly, because the U.S. government did not want Americans, nor anyone in the international community, to learn about the immoral experimentations.
As reported by Rob Stein for The Washington Post, at the helm of the Gutemala experiments was the infamous Dr. Taliaferro Clark who, in the 1930’s conducted similar illegal and immoral syphilis experimentation on African-American males for the notorious Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.
Says Stein, the tests in Guatemala were carried out using many methods, including direct injection of syphilis into open wounds, and “putting infectious material on the cervixes of uninfected prostitutes” who were then brought to men in order to infect the men, as well, through intercourse.
David Mercer, in a report for Al Jazeera, details the reason for the experiments and the victims chosen: “American doctors went to Guatemala to infect people with sexually transmitted diseases in order to test the effects of penicillin. The doctors infected orphans, prisoners, psychiatric patients, and conscripted soldiers.”
Eighty-seven year old Frederico Ramos, one of many Guatemalan victims of these research experiments, says, “They didn’t tell me anything. They just injected me. I thought it was medicine, helpful for the body.”
U.S. researchers deliberately targeted the poor in Guatemala, and offered monetary stipends in exchange for allowing themselves to be unknowingly injected with deadly viruses.
Says Mercer, “Like Frederico and his family, most people infected by the diseases lived in poverty. It is precisely because of their lack of resources that receiving some form of financial compensation was so important.”
Documentation uncovering this secret U.S. governmental research mission was revealed in 2010, and exposed that the experiments continued far beyond the 1940’s. Guatemalan victims have testified to being injected multiple times throughout the 1960‘s. And although the U.S. cites only 1,300 victims, the Medical Association of Guatemala’s ongoing investigation has thus far uncovered over 2,500 victims.
Syphilis-maimed victims, and the families of victims who died as a result of the illegal experimentations, filed law suits against the United States government and its medical researchers.
But all claims were dismissed in June of this year.
Says International Human Rights Advocate, Piper Hendricks, “The United States asserted sovereign immunity, saying that the Guatemalan plaintiffs could not sue the U.S. government in this case. The dismissal was based on the fact that the [crime] took place on foreign soil.
So, here we are nearly 70 years later, and that decision to hide what they were doing in an effort to get away with it is paying off.”
The message from the U.S. in this case appears to be that although it’s okay to commit crimes against humanity on foreign soil, it’s not okay to be held accountable for them.
What do you think about this?
Do you think it affects America’s reputation in the international community?
Should the U.S. be held accountable, or is it water under the bridge?