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South America Inherits Asia's Woes

1999 News of the World

The Asian financial crisis seemed to stabilize by 1999, although recovery will require patience: the World Bank estimated that the four largest economies affected (Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines) will yield an average annual growth rate of just 2.8% until 2007. Meanwhile, economic troubles have migrated to South America. In Jan. 1999, Brazil was hit hard, dragging down other Latin American economies with it. But Brazil's President Fernando Cardoso responded quickly with belt-tightening measures that produced short-term misery but presumably long-term stability and growth. Venezuela resorted to a more unorthodox approach, permitting their newly elected left-wing president, Hugo Chavez, to replace the existing democratically elected congress with his own supporters, and to assume near-dictatorial powers in an effort to reform of the ailing economy.


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