Guatemalans to sue US government for secretly infecting them with syphilis

Friday, March 11, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: medical experiments, Guatamala, health news

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(NaturalNews) Last fall, it became widely public that the US government deliberately infected roughly 700 Guatemalans with syphilis in a 1940s experiment on the effectiveness of penicillin ( Now, those involved in the experiment and their families are planning to sue the US government for damages unless it agrees to properly settle the issue outside of court.

The experiment represents just one of a long line of heinous medical experimentation projects conducted by the US government against human beings, including a similar syphilis experiment conducted on 600 black men in Tuskegee, Ala., between 1932 and 1972. Researchers in that case tricked the men into accepting "free medical care," and purposely infected them with the disease. They then denied these men treatment while observing their health digression. The incident has been dubbed "the longest non-therapeutic experiment on human beings in medical history" (

And the Guatemalan incident is believed to be an offshoot of the Tuskegee experiment because US officials realized there would be less scrutiny and oversight in the foreign land -- and thus less opportunity to get caught for their activity. But the truth has now come to light, and those responsible may finally have to face justice for their crimes.

Attorneys Andres Alonso and Terrence Collingsworth, the two men heading the Guatemalan case, have given the Obama administration until Friday, March 11, to respond to the settlement offer, or else the two plan to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the victims and their families.

"We have decided to create one opportunity to see if we can settle the issues presented in this tragic situation without involving the judicial process," said Alonso and Collingsworth in a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder.

If the Obama administration refuses the offer, plaintiffs plan to proceed with the suit which says that the US government violated the defendants' human rights by subjecting them to "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment."

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