September 1, 2001
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 through Congress.
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, anxiou
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.