Mexico To Repay Loans Early, Clinton Says
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 15) -- The Mexican government will make a final payment tomorrow on the $13.5 billion it had borrowed from the United States, President Bill Clinton announced this morning.
The loans sparked a firestorm of criticism in February 1995 when Clinton unilaterally decided to make up to $20 billion available to Mexico to help it out of an economic crisis. Republican Pat Buchanan called the loans "daylight robbery of the nation's wealth" and said it was money "American taxpayers will never see again." (288K AIFF or WAV sound)
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, widely seen as the architect of the U.S.-led bailout, signed an agreement with Mexico's Ambassador Jesus Silva Herzog officially terminating the loan. Mexico's final $3.5 billion installment will be paid Thursday.
In his remarks, Clinton crowed about proving his critics wrong. "Some said we should not get involved, that the money would never be repaid, that Mexico should fend for itself. They were wrong," Clinton said. "Today the American people can be proud that we did the right thing by Mexico and the right thing for the United States, and the right thing to protect global prosperity."
The president was also eager to point out that Mexico repaid the loan ahead of schedule and that the U.S. Treasury had reaped over $500 million in interest on the loans, all while preserving the level of U.S. exports to the country.
U.S. officials acknowledge the Mexican economy is still shaky and also concede that the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico is growing. But they insist that without intervention, the situation would be a whole lot worse.CNN's Wolf Blitzer contributed to this article.
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