Spanish investment in Latin America ranks second only to that of the United States. For a time, this investment brought large returns, especially during the lucrative privatization of utilities, telecommunications companies, and banks in the 1990s. But the onset of a regional economic downturn in 2001 meant massive losses for investors. In the year after the Argentine economic crisis, the worth of the 11 Spanish companies with the biggest operations in Argentina fell by 83 percent. In this excellent book, Chislett provides a detailed and well-documented account of Spanish investors' infatuation and subsequent disillusionment with Latin America. Spanish banks, he argues, have come to believe that they concentrated too much attention on Latin America, to the detriment of domestic markets. Spanish investors on the whole are now looking at the region much more skeptically -- having discovered, as their ancestors did, that El Dorado is not all it was cracked up to be.
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