In Brief... World News Review: Is Anyone Watching Latin America?

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In Brief... World News Review

Is Anyone Watching Latin America?

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"The next near-death experience for world financial markets will occur in Brazil-within weeks, or even days. Consequences for North America could be catastrophic.... Brazil, with 164 million people, accounts for nearly half of Latin America's total economic activity.... If Brazil implodes, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico could quickly follow. Venezuela is already in a tailspin and has recently devalued. Now, the really scary part...if Brazil's economy comes crashing down, and takes the rest of the continent with it, American business and banks will be dealt a devastating blow that will dwarf the Asian crisis in magnitude and severity. U.S. banks have far more loan exposure to Latin America than they did in Asian or Russia…

"The financial world is overseen by three economic great economic powerhouses. Japan is overlord of Asia's finances. Western Europe dominates East Europe and Russia. The U.S.'s bailiwick is Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Japan, mired in deep recession, has failed visibly to defend Asia. Europe has done no better in Russia. If the United States fumbles its financial manifest destiny in Latin America, head for the storm cellars [emphasis ours]" ("Storm Warnings in Brazil" by Eric Margolis, October 8, 1998).