The Plunger: the Peso Heads South

Zedillo struggles to regain the faith of his people -- and the U.S.

Not long after he took office last month, Mexico's new President, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, received a note of congratulations. The sender was Subcommandant Marcos, the masked, green-eyed leader of last year's bloody rebel uprising in the remote southern highlands of Chiapas. What it said was not exactly cordial, but it was to the point: "Welcome to the nightmare."

If Zedillo wasn't sure how big his nightmares could be, he is now. So are millions of Mexican citizens, a good many battered international investors and the world at large. All it took was a few wild days of free fall...

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