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IADB shindig goes with a bang

Protestors: against the excess

For all the talk of US slowdowns, Argentine crises and prudent spending-policies, there was little evidence of belt-tightening at the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Santiago in March.

The festivities began with a party at the local racetrack. Each of the 10 horses running was named after a currency. The unsurprising winner was Chile's own Peso, the loser was Rupee, and Yen took off, riderless, in a direction all of its own.

Credit Suisse First Boston spent to impress, flying in the Gipsy Kings from France. Reinaldo Salas, an official at Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, proved beyond contention that IDB delegates are better dancers than IMF delegates, although he gave the credit to the music.

The prize for spending money, however, must go to Banco Santander Central Hispano, which took over the entire central Santiago park of Cerro Santa Lucía and filled it with seven bars, three buffets, circus performers, theatrical performances and a symphony orchestra.

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