Fresh Fears About Mounting Debts

Many poor countries are too strapped to make interest payments

When the Latin American debt crisis first struck in August 1982, it seemed like a virulent fever that might quickly overwhelm the world financial system. Instead, it turned out to be more like a chronic ailment that flares up or recedes by turn but is always maddeningly present. When representatives of both creditor and debtor nations came together in Washington last week for meetings of the policymaking committees of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the persistent debt dilemma was at the top of the agenda. Fears are rising once again about the financial condition of Brazil and Argentina,...

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