Colombia may have a grim image as a land wracked with civil war
and rampaging drug lords, but its reputation in international
financial markets is improving day by day. Things began to
change after Juan Manuel Santos took over as minister of
finance last year. The decisive Santos dispelled the aura of
indecision that surrounded the administration of President
Andrés Pastrana and pushed basic economic reforms
Living with Headline Risk
Investors are applauding Colombia's economic team for straightening out the government's finances. But political uncertainty is rising with the approach of the 2002 elections.
Those reforms sorted out Bogotá's fiscal problems by
reducing transfers to local government and got the country back
to growth. All the while, he and Juan Mario Laserna, the
director of public credit, were buttering up the country's
investor base, anxious to ensure a smooth transfer of power
next year, when Colombians elect a new president.
"The Colombians came in early June and asked us how we look
at foreign investors, how we look at debt, what...
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