Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

4 - The Latin American Debt Crisis, 1982–1989

from Part II - Five Case Studies


On Thursday, August 12, 1982, Mexico’s Secretary of Finance, Jesús Silva Herzog, sent a letter to the country’s creditors telling them that Mexico did not have adequate foreign currency reserves to make interest payments on its national debt due the following Monday. In anticipation of the reaction in Mexico and abroad, Silva Herzog closed the foreign exchange markets in Mexico and phoned the heads of the (IMF), the Federal Reserve, and the US Treasury Department, before flying to Washington, DC, to negotiate assistance (Boughton, 2001: 289–90). So began the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.