Bush's Lost Continent

The President promised South America close friendship, no bailouts. Why he switched on both

Washington's bursts of interest in Latin America rarely last long. Spanish-speaking George W. Bush came into office billing himself as the region's mejor amigo in the new "Century of the Americas." Yet when it came to Latin America's economic travails, Bush adhered to the principle of tough love: no more bailouts. South Americans, however, weren't prepared for the jibe they got from Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill just before a visit to the continent. Even as a parade of U.S. CEOs stood accused of corruption, O'Neill remarked that Washington shouldn't help save the region's debt-choked economies because the money might wind up...

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