Payback time for Latin America

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It was a move without precedent. Within two days in mid-December, Brazil and then Argentina - two of the biggest emerging market debtors - decided to pay down in one fell swoop more than $25 billion in combined debt owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Cutting the apron strings with the much-despised IMF was bound to be a popular move in both countries, hobbled as they are by widespread poverty and a huge gap between the rich and poor. But there was a gulf in the way each co

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