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On debt, flows and Eric Clapton

Chilean Finance Minister

Nicolas Eyzaguirre

If supporters of Chilean president-elect Ricardo Lagos are banking on some sort of cultural revolution during his six-year term, they can probably look first to the unlikely figure of Nicolas Eyzaguirre, the new finance minister.

Because behind the perfect curriculum vitae, which includes degrees from the University of Chile and Harvard, and then stints with the Chilean central bank and the IMF, is a former student radical who idolizes Eric Clapton and loves nothing better than to pick out a melody on one of his four guitars. "I grew up listening to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan...people like that. But my big influence is still Eric Clapton."

Between proselytizing on the merits of fiscal prudence and a strong currency, Eyzaguirre, now 46, recalls with a smile the combative days of the dictatorship, when impromptu street performances by his folk rock band were cut short by members of the constabulary.

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