Using people in medical experiments without their knowing consent is WRONG. And yet this wrong was committed over 5,000 times when over 5,000 people were used in gruesome experiments that the U.S.authorities conducted in Guatemala in the 1940s and 1950s. Now that we know what happened, these victims and their families deserve a real remedy.
This case is just like what the U.S.did in Tuskegee, Alabama – some say worse – and yet the United States has offered nothing more than an apology to the victims. Why? These victims deserve the same remedy that the U.S. gave the Tuskegee victims and their families – medical care and burial benefits.
At least 31 human rights groups, 5 bioethicists, The Washington Post (twice!), the President's own Presidential Commission, have all publicly said that a mere apology for what happened is simply not enough. WE AGREE.
The United States has already admitted to using innocent citizens of Guatemala in medical experiments without their consent. In October 2010, President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Sebelius apologized and said the experiments were egregiously unethical.
That was well over two years ago. Refusing to provide Guatemalan victims with anything more than “I’m sorry” is a monumental injustice.
It is ironic that at the very time these gruesome medical experiments were going on in Guatemala, the United Stateswas publicly proclaiming “Never Again” by leading the world in creating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Trying to kick the victims out of court and leave them without a remedy deeply offends every principle of human rights on which theUnited Stateshas historically stood.
A simple apology is not and cannot be considered enough to right this historic wrong.
Members of Congress - we ask you to call on the Administration to take action.
President Obama – at the dawn of your second administration, we ask you to do right by the victims we have wronged by negotiating and announcing a fair settlement for these victims. The United States can, and must, do better. Yes we can!
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