The Gathering Storm

Debtor countries meet to set strategy for their confrontation with bankers

"We hear the far-off thunder of violent drums. We feel the winds of storms," warned Colombian President Belisario Betancur last week in a chilling speech to government ministers of his Latin American neighbors. His rousing rhetoric referred not to war or natural disaster but to something equally momentous: Latin America's $350 billion debt burden. Since the beginning of the year, the pressure on both the borrowers and the American banks that lent them much of the money has grown sharply. A 2% jump in interest rates has hit Latin countries...

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