One of the most salient economic factors determining the position and policies of international capital towards underdeveloped social formations was the rather unexpected onslaught of the global debt crisis. In August 1982, Mexico imposed a moratorium on its debt service repayments. This unilateral step raised the spectre of an international illiquidity crisis, with further possible individual or even collective debt default, threatening the very existence of a number of banks which had overstepped their lending capacities in the 1970s. The lending spree of the 1970s had come to an end. Between 1977 and 1983 the total debt of non-oil-exporting developing countries increased from US$ 300 billion to US$ 782 billion ( Schubert 1985, 123). The average debt servicing quotient for developing countries, which had been less than 19 percent between 1973 and 1977, increased to 24 percent in 1982, or even 50 percent if short-term credits are added ( Büttner 1984, 145). The Mexican case set into motion a fundamental reorientation of international capital transfers, transforming Latin American debtor countries into net capital exporters ( Altvater and Hübner 1987, 15ff; Mugglin 1989, 47-50). The necessity to keep the international finance system afloat meant for the debtor countries that any room for sovereign manoeuvrability in foreign policy contracted palpably. Nowhere has this constraint become more evident than in the way the industrialized countries and international finance capital handled the management of the crisis.