Judge Dismisses Lawsuit By Guatemalans Infected In U.S. Experiments
June 15, 2012 By Staff
Top Story— U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton granted a motion by the U.S. federal government to dismiss a lawsuit by Guatemalan victims infected with STDs while U.S. researchers tested the effects of penicillin in the 1940s. According to Guatemalan officials, 2,082 people — most of them vulnerable members of Guatemalan society like orphans, prisoners, soldiers and mental patients who did not give consent — were deliberately infected with syphilis, gonorrhea or chancroid in experiments funded by the predecessor of the National Institutes of Health to test different dosages of penicillin against different diseases. The U.S. says that 1,308 were infected. After the experiment was uncovered by a medical historian in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius all apologized for the research. However, the U.S. did not respond to victims’ demands for an out-of-court claims process, and they were forced to file suit. Judge Walton called the experiments a “deeply troubling chapter in our nation’s history”, but said that that federal law bars claims against the U.S. based on injuries suffered in a foreign country.
Read more from the Miami Herald.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican crime reporter Victor Baez was found dead in Xalapa, Veracruz after he was reportedly abducted from his home on Wednesday night.
- Video surveillance from a hotel lobby showed five heavily armed Mexican police officers kidnapping three men at gunpoint in Jalisco in the middle of the night. The men were later found dead.
- The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Thursday that Tropical Storm Carlotta will be upgraded to a hurricane as it approaches the Mexican coastline south of Acapulco.
- Dominican immigration officials said they are seeking to ban the children of illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic’s public schools by requiring identification documents for enrollment.
- Cuban dissident “Antúnez”, also known as Jorge Luis García Pérez, was reportedly released from jail after being detained for speaking by video to the U.S. Senate.
- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is hoping to stem child trafficking in Haitiafter two convicted traffickers were sentenced to 15 years in prison each, the first time human traffickers of Haitian children have been jailed in the Dominican Republic.
- The Honduran military reported that two people flying a plane carrying 40 kilos of cocaine died after the plane crashed on Wednesday.
- After months of deliberating, the U.S. Senate voted 62-37 to cut off debate and pave the way for the approval of Mari Carmen Aponte as U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador.
- Fifteen Colombian soldiers will be tried for murder for falsely reporting that six civilians they killed were rebels in 2006.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said Venezuela will start building drones in cooperation with the Iranian, Chinese, and Russian governments.
- Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto said he would name Colombian Gen. Oscar Naranjo as his security advisor if elected president.
- Bolivian race-walker Claudia Balderrama said she is hoping to earn Bolivia’s first Olympic medal at the London games this summer.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner appeared before the UN decolonization committee on Thursday to argue that the disputed Falkland Islands should not be under British rule.
- Chilean student leader Camila Vallejo said she plans to travel to Mexico to meet with the student movement known as “I am 132”.
Image: Håkan Dahlström @ Flickr.