We gave Guatemala syphilis

And gonorrhea. But mostly just syphilis. In Guatemala from 1946 until 1948, Dr. John Cutler conducted a study under the approval of the U.S. Department of Health authorities and the Guatemalan government to test the effectiveness of penicillin in treating syphilis and gonorrhea. By hopping over national borders into Guatemala, Cutler and U.S. Health authorities were able to conduct their tests without ethical issues. This a sickening example of U.S. disrespect towards our southern Spanish-speaking neighbors during this era. Susan Reverby, the historian who recently unearthed the reports at the University of Pittsburgh, found that they deliberately infected prisoners and mental institution patients without their knowledge or consent. Their primary method of inoculation? Prostitution. They had infected prostitutes sleep with the patients. When that didn’t work, they “did direct inoculations made from syphilis bacteria poured onto the mens’ penises or on forearms and faces that were slightly abraded when the “normal exposure” produced little disease, or in a few cases through spinal puncture” Reverby reports. Sure, the Guatemalan government was also approved the actions, but can you blame them? Here they are, this tiny little country who just witnessed their mammoth-sized American neighbor swoop over Europe and end World War II in record time. The Guatemalan authorities are in no way responsible, and their approval does not get us out of the doghouse. It would have taken incredible courage for them to deny the U.S. of anything during that time after we just flexed our atom-bomb-injected muscles on an international stage. Plus, we would not be denied of anything. For the majority of the 20th century we exerted our military strength over Latin America to control them politically and economically, so that they “behaved” and didn’t sway into the communist “trap” of the Soviet Union. And then we gave them STDs. The fact that we are apologizing about it now makes us look even worse. Saying “sorry” 50 years later is too little, too late. It’s as if to say, “Oh by the way, Guatemala, you might want to get tested … our bad!” Just because they don’t speak our language and don’t have as big of an army or as much technology as we do does not give us the right to treat an entire country of people like guinea pigs. Another group of people accused of performing such medical experiments in this era were the Nazis. Yeah … the Nazis.