Gil Díaz's Strong Hand

Aug 30, 2003

Mexico's finance secretary has firmly managed Mexico's accounts, even paying off the last of the country's Brady bonds. Economic stability and low inflation now are hallmarks of Latin America's biggest economy.

Finance Secretary Francisco Gil Díaz has one of the toughest jobs in Mexico, one that only seems to get harder. He took office in December 2000 with a grand strategy to overhaul the economy, reform the state and accelerate growth in the second half of President Vicente Fox's six-year term. Frustratingly, these plans seem as far from fruition as ever. The economy is creeping along, with growth this year forecast at 2.1% - one-third of the rate in 2000. Far-reaching tax reforms and proposals to open the state-controlled energy industry to private investors have stalled. Yet Gil Díaz has made progress in other significant areas. He retired the country's remaining Brady bonds in June and has kept spending under tight control. Congress has passed more than a dozen laws streamlining the financial system and capital markets. But few Mexicans are better off today than they were 20 years ago. In...

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