Empty Hands Across the Waters

Latin American borrowers balk at demands by Western lenders

Third World debtors and Western lenders share a precarious and often stormy coexistence. The main subject of their discontent is the $360 billion that Latin Americans owe moneymen. Since the debt crisis struck three years ago, tensions between lenders and borrowers have periodically flared and subsided. Now they are flaring again.

In his annual state of the nation speech, Mexico's President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado last week called for a new round of negotiations to ease repayment conditions. Talks between Brazil and the International Monetary Fund for a new loan agreement were suspended last month because the country refused to...

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