U.S. Judge Rules U.S. Immune from Paying for Infecting Guatemalans with Syphilis

Saturday, June 23, 2012
John Cutler
A federal judge has invalidated a lawsuit by victims of U.S. experiments involving venereal disease in Guatemala during the 1940s and 1950s.
For at least eight years, the U.S. Public Health Service experimented on Guatemalans without their knowledge or permission. Prisoners, orphans, prostitutes and soldiers were exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea and other diseases so American researchers, led by Dr. John C. Cutler, could study how the conditions spread among the population.
Cutler was the same doctor who, in the 1960s, also helped coordinate a study that began in 1932 in which 600 African-American men from Tuskegee, Alabama, with syphilis were left untreated for decades to observe the effects of the disease. Although the Tuskegee experiment was scandalous, the Guatemalan one was even worse because Cutler gave syphilis to people who were not already infected.
Survivors of the Guatemala testing filed a class action lawsuit seeking compensation for the damage done to them or family members. The litigation was opposed by the Obama administration, which rejected paying for the actions of federal officials decades ago. President Barack Obama did apologize to the Guatemalan people in October 2010.
District Judge Reggie Walton acknowledged that the experimentation represented “a deeply troubling chapter in our Nation’s history.” At the same time, however, Walton said the case could not continue.
He wrote that the court was “powerless to provide any redress to the plaintiffs,” and they should appeal “to the political branches of our government, who, if they choose, have the ability to grant some modicum of relief to those affected by the Guatemala Study.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
U.S. Cleared for Giving Guatemalans Syphilis (by Ryan Abbott, Courthouse News Service)
Manuel Gudiel Garcia v. Kathleen Sebelius (U.S. District Court, District of Columbia) (pdf)
Guatemalans Threaten to Sue U.S. Government over Secret Syphilis Experiments (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


Duncan Jones 10 years ago
federal judge reggie walton's comments that the events were "deeply troubling" is the most callous, vicious, and frightening statement made since wwii. these facts are not disputable. the facts are - "not deeply troubling" - they are -"crimes against humanity" - wilfully perpetrated by an agency of the united states of america and are no different than those medical experiments perpetrated by the nazis and japanese in wwii. those responsible in wwii were executed. there is no legal excuse nor moral excuse to dismiss this as "political." the surviving perpetrators must be criminally charged and executed under international law. compensation must be given to these innocent victims of such sub-human and vile governmental activity. judge watson must be removed from the bench as morally unfit and without the judicial temperament to be any type of judge. as a member of a minority that suffered similar treatment in mississippi his decision is most despicable. his decision is pure politics. it is nothing but a blatant obvious cover to avoid international embarrassment and done solely for the commander in chief's re-election as opposed to any reasoned decision. what political plums was he promised from this administration? the entire united states government is now to be totally feared, loathed, and hated for allowing such barbarity to go unpunished. every citizen must realize that they may be next "experiment" and every federal judge may just look the other way. shame on the judge and congress for giving all guatemalans a valid, rational, and legitimate reason to hate america and seek her destruction. tyranny, tyranny, and more tyranny is all one can expect from the federal monsters who comprise our government. there is but a small flickering sliver of government sanity left and it is flickering more dimly by the hour.
Tessa Campbell 10 years ago
forcing the victim to go to an international court will reinforce obama's claiming he only listens to the un's authority and no one else. not even congress. this is the globalist plan and, you're probably right. we have no justice system when j.a.g.s(retired judge advocate generals) seem to but in and take the cases which need to reject any ruling making us based corporations responsible for their heinous crimes.
Brian 10 years ago
from a legal standpoint the judge here may have been right. the guatemalans might want to bring this action in an international court of law.

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