BUSINESS ABROAD: The Isthmus of Sulphur

Across Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec swept a boom fever as intoxicating as tequila. In the tiny coastal towns of Minatitlán and Coatzacoalcos. Mexicans with bulging bankrolls were spending them on refrigerators, Mixmasters, and dozens of other items they could only dream about a few years ago. Slapdash buildings were going up everywhere; Minatitlán's newest hotel opened for business before it was even finished, a second bank went up, honky-tonk bars and gambling joints were busy 24 hours a day. Cause of it all: sulphur, an element far more valuable to industry than...

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