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Bolivia halting payments on $4 billion foreign debt

Bolivia has decided to suspend payments during the next four years on its $4 billion foreign debt, officials said Wednesday. About $1 billion of the debt is owed to a consortium of US banks led by Bank of America.

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The country was crippled in recent weeks by two general strikes to protest government austerity measures.

The announcement appeared to revive market concern about the international debt crisis and the exposure of commercial banks. US banks in particular have poured billions of dollars into South America in the last decade.

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