Ben Johnson,Floyd Reports
Raising his apology tour to new levels of absurdity,President Barack Obama apologized to the Guatemalan people for a scientific experiment sponsored by its own government. On Friday,Obama called the president of Guatemala to express his “deep regret” for an experiment conducted more than 60 years ago. From 1946-48,the U.S. Public Health Service oversaw a medical experiment designed to “test the effectiveness of penicillin” in treating syphilis by infecting nearly 700 Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers,and mental patients with the disease,then treating them. Apparently,the torture consisted of bringing STD-laden prostitutes into Guatemalan prisons for conjugal visits. (Fewer subjects had syphilis injected or otherwise introduced into their bodies.) The treatment administered may or may not have been sufficient;the feds ended the experiment and recalled the team. Susan Reverby,a professor at Hillary Clinton’s alma mater,Wellesley College,discovered the experiment and revealed its existence in January’s Journal of Policy History.
On Friday afternoon,Barack Obama called Guatamalan President Alvaro Colom,sombrero-in-hand,seeking penance and absolution. (He also immortalized the moment with a PR photo.)