This publication examines how external debt financing has evolved in the past three decades (1982-2012). It looks back 30 years and analyses the Latin American and Caribbean region's trajectory from the unique perspective of access to international financial markets. As the title implies, this trajectory has been a rollercoaster ride, with many ups and downs, and moments of anticipation and panic. The developments of the past three decades as described in this book suggest that more widespread and cheaper access to international capital markets can play a role in the long process of achieving sustainable growth with equality, by broadening the options for financing investment and social initiatives. Despite the lessons learned and the progress over this period, many challenges remain. Structural change should be at the heart of a long-term growth process to make equality a reality.