October 5, 2010
A committee impaneled Monday by President Alvaro Colom will investigate the two-year experiment, disclosed Friday by the Obama administration, in which US scientists deliberately infected hundreds of Guatemalans with STDs.
The committee "will try to determine how it was possible for this to happen; who the victims were, as well as the consequences and presumed guilty parties," said Ronaldo Robles, spokesperson for the president.
In addition to Colom and Robles, the committee will include Vice President Rafael Espada, Health Minister Ludwig Ovalle, Interior Minister Carlos Menocal, Defense Minister Abraham Valenzuela, and members of the medical association.
Some 1,500 prisoners, soldiers, and sex workers were involved in the experiment from 1946 to 1948. At least one patient died during the research, though it is not known whether the death resulted from the tests.
"We need to know how high up knowledge of the study reached in the executive and legislative branches" at the time, said Carlos Mejia, chief of the medical association. "This was sensitive research, with experiments similar to the ones done by the Nazis, who handpicked disadvantaged subjects."
Agence France Presse
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