U.S. Illegal Experiments Went Far Beyond Guatemala

Inside Costa Rica

GUATEMALA – The illegal experiments conducted on human beings by a U.S. medical team in the 1940s went far beyond Guatemala, according to local news reports.

The team headed by Dr. John Cutler did the same thing in the United States, India, and African nations, said Leon Arango, member of the commission in charge of investigating the experiments on Guatemalans, quoted in the Diario de Centro America newspaper on Monday.

Cutler headed a team that from 1946 to 1948 intentionally infected 610 Guatemalans with venereal diseases, including prostitutes, prisoners, soldiers, and mentally disabled people, according to a report published by a U.S. investigator.

That disclosure triggered a wave of indignation in that country. President Alvaro Colom called the incident a crime against humanity, and ordered the creation of a commission to make the corresponding investigations.

Arango said he had information that showed the experiments were also conducted on U.S. prison inmates and citizens from a community in Alabama, as well in African countries and in India.

As was the case in Guatemala, the alleged studies to find medicines to fight venereal diseases were allowed by authorities in Africa and India in return for the setting-up of clinical labs.

The former chief of the Public Health Department for Venereal Diseases, Juan Funes, was the one who encouraged those experiments. At that time, he was being trained at a New York institute for research on venereal diseases, Arango said.

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