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Federative Republic of Brazil

Major Cities:
Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife, Pôrto Alegre, Salvador da Bahia, Belo Horizonte, Belém, Manaus, Fortaleza, Curitiba, Goiânia

Other Cities:
Anápolis, Aracaju, Campina Grande, Campinas, Campo Grande, Caxias do Sul, Corumbá, Florianópolis, João Pessoa, Juiz de Fora, Maceió, Natal, Olinda, Ouro Prêto, Ribeirão Prêto, Santos


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 1999 for Brazil. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


The Federative Republic of BRAZIL , occupying almost half of continental South America, is the fifth largest country in the world. With a 1996 population of roughly 160 million people, it sprawls across 3.3 million square miles of forest and plain, and shares boundaries with every South American state except Chile and Ecuador. In spite of profound economic problems, Brazil is an intriguing country. Its daring venture, nearly three decades ago, of carving a new capital city out of almost inaccessible territory, captured the interest of the world. Its bustling cities offer a broad contrast to the beauty of the countryside, and the widespread intermixtures among Caucasians, Negroes, and native Indians have resulted in a land of varied cultures and fascinating people.



The city of Brasilia, one of the wonders of the modern world. Modern buildings, is a futuristic city design and road system, rolling landscape, and a lake are features of the city. Brasíia, 600 air miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro in the central plateau of Brazil, is similar in topography and vegetation to western Texas. The Federal District, home of Brasíia and its satellite cities, lies within the State of Goids and comprises some 2,200 square miles. The District lies at the junction of the headwaters of three major Brazilian river systems, with an elevation of about 3,700 feet.

Brasíia is growing steadily but retains many U.S. small-town characteristics, such as an emphasis on family life. People are friendly and lifestyles tend to be informal. Construction of Brasíia began in 1957. In 1960, the city formally became the capital of Brazil. Over the next decade, the President, Congress, Federal Supreme Court, Foreign Ministry, and most other government agencies moved to Brasíia from the former capital, Rio de Janeiro. All official acts are signed in Brasíia, and all embassies are here.

Brasíia's demographics and economy make it a unique city. Brasíia's standard of living (the highest in Brazil) is stable due to regular employment in the government. Indeed, most of the population depends either directly or indirectly on government employment. Locals consider Brasíia as being on the Plano Piloto, while other cities in the Federal District are satellite cities. Satellite cities, originally created to house construction workers early in Brasíia's history and intended to disappear after construction was completed, have remained to be Brasíia's suburbs. Although construction workers originally populated them, skilled and semi-skilled workers and government bureaucrats now mostly populate satellite cities.

The city's population comes from all parts of Brazil and is heterogeneous. The native population is small. The appearance, thinking, and idiosyncrasies common to each area within Brazil are present in Brasíia. People consider themselves state citizens and form close associations with state groups.

Brazilians rely heavily on the family unit, spend their free time together, and depend on one another for assistance. The big Sunday family dinner is far more common here than in the U.S. Although some Brasilienses speak English, Portuguese is important for dealing with any stratum of Brazilian society. Limited recreational facilities and cultural activities, close living, and isolation can be problems, unless you develop hobbies or other leisure-time activities. Most who have served here have found life in Brasíia pleasant.

Outside the official U.S. Embassy community, most Americans living in Brasíia are missionaries, farmers who only work part of the year within the Federal District, and teachers employed by the American School.

Brasíia's moderate temperatures make the climate pleasant. Winter temperatures drop as low as 55°F at night and reach about 80°F during the day. Summer temperatures average from 65°F to 85°F. Average relative humidity varies from 50% to 70% during the summer's rainy season. Rainfall averages 60 inches annually, falling mostly between October and April. During this period, mildew is sometimes a problem. During the rainy season, flash storms bring several inches of rain in a short time. It rains in the morning or afternoon, followed by clear skies. Brasíia has spectacular sunrises; the sunsets are equally breathtaking.

The dry season, from April to September, has little or no rainfall, with humidity as low as 10%. Days are warm, but nights are cool.

Although pests do not plague Brasíia, ants, roaches, mosquitoes, flies, lizards and spiders are sometimes plentiful. Snakes are not generally found in populated areas.


Brasíia has several well-stocked, large supermarkets. Vegetables and fruits are in good supply. They can also be purchased in small shops, Japanese markets, or from large, open, suburban markets where fruits and vegetables are fresher, cheaper, and found in greater quantity and variety. Frozen meats and prepared foods are available.

Almost all American-type fresh fruits and vegetables are available. Tropical fruits such as papaya, pineapple, mango, tamarind, passion fruit, sweetsop, Chinese gooseberry, and even more exotic fruits are available seasonally. Other fruits such as strawberries, apples, grapes, pears, peaches and nectarines are imported. Standard U.S. beef cuts are not widely available, but Brazilian cuts are acceptable. Beef filet, chicken, and fresh pork are excellent. Lamb is also available. Fresh and frozen fish are abundant, but shellfish is expensive. Local fresh, pasteurized, powdered, and long-life milk are available. Dairy products, such as butter, cream, yogurt, and cheese, are available in grocery stores, cheese stores, health food stores, delicatessens, and bakeries.

Brasíia has many good restaurants. Chinese, French and Mexican cuisine is available, as well as outstanding, traditional Brazilian barbecued meat (churrasco), and other national and international dishes. The American fast-food chains McDonald's and Arby's have representation here, too.


Men: Summer and spring suits are worn year round. Bring primarily lightweight suits and one or two medium weight suits for the cool season. Generally, the quality of dry-cleaners is good, but expensive. Slacks and sports shirts (short or long sleeved) are suitable for off-duty hours. Bring a variety of clothes for a warm climate, from casual to semi-formal. Sport jackets, sweaters, light jackets, and wind breakers are comfortable during the cool season. Local clothing prices vary from city to city and U.S. sizes are not always available. Styles are more European than American.

Women: Fashion-conscious Brazilian women follow all the latest trends abroad, and have some of their own. Although entertaining is informal, elegant sports clothes are often worn. You can buy chic well-made clothing, but prices are high. Cotton suits and lightweight knit dresses can be worn during the cool and rainy seasons and evenings. Some warmer clothing is occasionally necessary. Except for the rainy period, days are often hot, so bring cotton and synthetic blends. If you are planning to travel to Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, or south of Brasíia during winter, you will need winter clothes. Generally, informality prevails in Brasíia. However, evening wear is often considered "elegant casual." Bring sweaters or lightweight jackets for occasional cooler days and nights of the rainy season and the evenings of the dry season. A raincoat may be too warm, but an umbrella is essential. Wool slacks and long-sleeved blouses or dresses for cool, rainy days and a warm robe are welcome.

Bring plenty of sportswear, including washable slacks and shorts. Local prices for underwear and beach ensembles are high. Women's and girl's swimwear is available in all sizes, but run small. Brazilian swimwear, even one-piece suits, exposes more than U.S. styles. Sun hats are advisable.

Bring shoes or leave shoe size with a U.S. store and order as needed. All types of shoes, sandals, and tennis shoes are found in Brasíia, but it is difficult to find good fits, particularly for half and narrow sizes. Brazil manufactures many kinds of footwear available at a variety of prices, though for the most part the quality is inferior to shoes found in the U.S.

Children: Bring washable children's clothing, swimwear, and shoes. Include sweaters and lightweight jackets for cool nights and mornings. Blue jeans are a must for outside play. Light-colored play clothes stain easily from Brasíia's red clay. Dress at the American School is informal; both boys and girls may wear jeans. Elementary school-aged children wear shorts with short-sleeved shirts or T-shirts most of the year.

Supplies & Services

Toiletries and patent medicines of Brazilian manufacture may be bought locally. Many are U.S. brands manufactured under license and are expensive. Bring or order specialty items from the U.S. Bring all essential store items with you such as Tylenol, children's cough syrup, toothpaste, suntan lotion, contact lens solution, etc. If you have a baby or are expecting, bring all items with you. These items are imported to Brasíia and the costs are about double that in the U.S. Baby food and diapers can be ordered through the commissary or the internet Netgrocer shopping service.

Litter boxes are not available in Brasíia. Pet supply stores sell leashes, brushes, flea collars, and a few toys. Pet treats and rawhide chew sticks are available. Fleas are prevalent year round. Consult your veterinarian regarding flea repellents and flea collars. Anti-flea sprays and lotions, shampoos, etc. are roughly twice the price here than they are in the States. Program is also sold here, although it is more expensive than in the States.

Laundry and dry-cleaning services are available throughout Brasíia.

Beauty shops and barbershops do acceptable work and some are reasonably priced. Specialty services such as hair coloring/frosting and perms are generally more expensive than in the U.S. Massages, manicures, and pedicures are available at varying prices.

Domestic Help

Part-time servants usually suffice, although full-time and live-in help are desired by some. Wages vary from USD 150-200 (at an exchange rate of R$2 to USD 1) a month for live-in maids, plus the cost of various benefits guaranteed them under Brazil's Constitution.

In addition to wages, the employer of a live-in servant provides bed linens, towels, food, and, if desired, uniforms. Live in maids are sometimes scarce, as many prefer to work during the day only. Housekeeping and laundry services are fair, but you must train the maids to use modern appliances.

Day cleaning personnel currently charge USD 15-20 per day (again, with an exchange rate of R$2 to USD 1). They are generally available for 1 or 2 days a week per family, with services divided among two or three employers. The 1988 Constitution guarantees various rights to domestic workers.

Religious Activities

Brasíia has many Catholic churches. An English-language mass is conducted each Saturday at one of the churches. Several Protestant churches and a Greek Orthodox church have congregations in Brasíia. English-language worship services and religious instruction are held Sunday mornings by an interdenominational Protestant group and a Baptist church. A small Jewish cultural association welcomes members from the official and diplomatic communities. Services are conducted weekly and on all holidays at the local synagogue.


The American School of Brasíia (EAB) was founded in 1964 and offers preschool through grade 12 based on a U.S. public school curriculum. Instruction is in English, but English-speaking students are required to study Portuguese. The school has about 600 students from about 40 countries. Facilities include a soccer/softball field, a library with 10,000 volumes, a science lab, a computer classroom, a gym, and a canteen. Enrollment is close to school capacity.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of the U.S. accredits the school. The lower school is recognized by the Secretary of Education in the Federal District. The educational allowance currently covers all school expenses for grades K-12. Preschool is not covered by the educational allowance. The school year runs from early August to early June, with a one-week vacation at Carnaval and a four-week vacation during the Christmas season.

Some supervised extracurricular sports, as well as other after-school activities including band, are available, though they are quite limited, especially for the lower grades. Bring music materials, as they are expensive in Brasíia.

EAB participates in sports and some academic competitions along with other American schools in Brazil and the region, giving students the opportunity to travel and take part in these events while meeting a variety of South American and international students.

Another school that is used by some in the American community in Brasíia is the School of Nations, a B'hai school. Instruction is bilingual, one-half in English and one-half in Portuguese. The school is not accredited. The School of Nations offers instruction from pre-kindergarten through 11th grade and offers a US-based curriculum with a strong emphasis on diversity and values.

Preschool aged children may attend the Affinity Arts pre-school. There is a strong emphasis on music in the program along with other activities such as language, science, theater, swimming, cooking and playground.

Other schools in the Federal District include public, private, and parochial institutions. Instruction is given from nursery school through grade 12, but not in English. Children with a good background in Portuguese may attend these schools. Note: the Brazilian school year has summer vacation during December, January, and February, with a mid-term break in July.


Sociedade Hipica de Brasíia (Horse Riding Club): This is the most complete and centrally located horse-riding club in Brasíia. Horses are rented. Nonmembers can ride on weekends at scheduled times.

Other facilities include a social clubhouse with bar and restaurant, two swimming pools, tennis court, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and a large riding pavilion. Riding lessons are available.

The following clubs are available for membership, but memberships are extremely expensive: the Yacht Club of Brasíia (late Clube), the Club of Nations (Clube das Naçňes and the Brasíia Country Club, Cota Mil Yacht Club, and the Academia de Tenis (Tennis Academy). There are numerous commercial health clubs (called academias) whose fees are similar to health-club fees in the U.S.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Brasíia's Lake Paranoá is beautiful. However, floating debris and raw sewage make all water-related activities in the lake unsafe. Swimming in pools is a popular pastime. Bring diving masks, goggles, and flippers if desired.

Brazil's national sport is soccer. Numerous games are played in Brasíia between various amateur teams, and a small professional league. Brasíia has a team in the national league.

Hunting for birds and small game is prohibited in all states except Rio Grande do Sul. Fishing for any but the smallest kinds of fish requires a 3-to 4-hour drive to the Verde River or an 8-hour drive to the Araguaia River in Goiás State. Excellent fishing is found on the Island of Bananal, accessible only by 1-1/2 hours' flight by small plane.

Brasíia offers limited sightseeing with few museums and galleries. A well-laid out zoo houses several species of Brazilian wildlife and is continually expanding. You can view various types of vegetation and plant life can be seen at the botanical reserve.

Brasíia's TV tower is the fourth tallest in the world at 715 feet. Oscar Niemeyer, the famous architect who designed much of Brasíia, designed it. The top of the tower is 4,403 feet above sea level, and a lookout platform provides a panoramic view of the city and surrounding countryside. A "hippie" fair, featuring handicrafts, clothes, shoes, and wood and leather items, is held at the foot of the tower on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. There is a lovely gem museum located on the Center level of the TV tower. At Christmas, the tower is strung with lights to resemble an enormous Christmas tree.

An outstanding landmark in Brasíia is the national flag flown on Three Powers Square. The enormous 286-square meter flag flies from a 100-meter high flagpole that consists of 22 joined staffs representing the states of Brazil. A different Brazilian state donates a new flag on the first Sunday of every third month. The new flag is raised amidst a colorful ceremony with music and traditional folk dancing.

In late June, Brasíia hosts the "Feira dos Estados," a charity state fair including state displays, local products, regional cuisine for sale, folk dancing performances, and a midway. Representatives of foreign countries also participate.

In May, one of the liveliest and most colorful festivals is the Cavalhadas in Pirenópolis about 2 hours from Brasíia. During this brilliant pageant, richly caparisoned horses and riders simulate ancient Iberian Peninsula tournaments. Both fine horsemanship and wild stunt riding by masked riders are displayed in this fascinating folk festival.

Driving outside Brasíia can be a pleasant pastime. The town of Cristalina, a gem seeker's paradise, is about 2 hours south of Brasíia. The shops located around the town-square offer Brazilian precious and semiprecious stones and other gifts or souvenirs. You can visit some working pit mines a short drive out of town. A quaint country restaurant serving local fare is located in Luziania, mid-way between Brasíia and Cristalina, and is a popular place to stop for lunch when returning from a shopping expedition.

Goiánia, about 2-3 hours southwest of Brasíia, is the capital of Goiás and its largest city. The city, founded in 1933, is a planned city like Brasíia. With an altitude much lower than Brasíia's, it is warmer and more humid. Goiánia is a pretty town with tree-lined streets, interesting 1930s architecture, a centralized shopping center, good hotels, tall apartment buildings, and some excellent restaurants. On weekends, a "hippie fair" offers a variety of goods and crafts.

The beautiful Itiquira waterfalls, amid a rugged terrain, are located 2 hours north of Brasíia over newly paved roads. For those interested in a health spa, a first-class resort hotel and several warm, natural pools are located near Caldas Novas, about 5 hours from Brasíia in Goiás. Visit this resort for a relaxing 3-day weekend.

Travel to São Paulo-Brazil's largest city, or to Rio de Janeiro-world famous for its natural beauty-for a real change of pace and scenery. By highway, Rio is 753 miles and 15-20 hours away; São Paulo is 627 miles from Brasíia with driving time of 14-17 hours. Frequent air connections to both cities are available. Air travel time is about 1-1/2 hours.

If you want to leave the main road, secondary roads are often unpaved and difficult. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are useful, especially for camping.

There are two softball seasons, and several coed teams, with participants from the American and international community. Bowling is available at Park Shopping.

The Parque da Cidade (City Park), located in Asa Sul, offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as bicycle riding, jogging, walking, paddleboats, children's amusement park, barbecue sites, etc. Additionally, one of the main highways is closed on Sundays and made available to bicyclists and joggers.


Dinner parties, cookouts and casual buffets are a popular form of home entertainment. The American Women's Club International (AWCI) organizes monthly meetings with speakers on various topics. Weekly and monthly AWCI activity groups meet to enjoy such things as tennis, bridge, playgroup, Portuguese conversation and social services work, to name just a few. The AWCI book clubs buy a wide selection of current bestsellers with membership fees. The American School sponsors a Christmas Bazaar, Fun Run, International Fair, Flea Market, and two stage productions which are attended by the Brasíia community at large. The Casa Thomas Jefferson, which is actually three Brazilian-American binational centers, sponsors art exhibits and musical events that feature both American and Brazilian artists and performers.

Brasíia has many movie theaters. Admission costs are comparable to the U.S. English-language films are popular. Most films are American originals with Portuguese subtitles. Children's films tend to be dubbed. Some French and Italian films are also shown in the respective embassies as well as in Brazilian theaters.

The National Theater presents concerts and occasionally has ballet or other dance performances. The circus comes to town once a year, as do various foreign performers. The University of Brasíia holds interesting performances by staff members in its music school. Military and police groups hold parades and other activities on various national holidays. Americans are welcome at all cultural and national celebrations.

Brasíia has some nightclubs; most have dancing, some have floor shows. Several popular discotheques attract various age groups. Outdoor cafes featuring drinks and snacks are popular evening meeting places.

Shopping malls have movie theaters, a variety of shops and eateries. Park Shopping, adjacent to one of the largest supermarkets in the area, has eleven movie theaters, a 24 lane bowling alley built by Brunswick, a McDonald's, an international food court, and approximately 175 shops. Many other new malls have been built recently, including Brasíia Shopping and Patio Brasil, each with stores, eateries and move theaters. There is an arcade with small amusement rides and video games, and an in-door skating rink during the Christmas holidays.

Rio De Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, the center of a metropolitan area of about 11 million people, offers one of the world's most beautiful physical settings. Set adjacent to an ocean bay off the Atlantic Ocean and facing south, Rio is surrounded by mountains with spectacular formations and tropical greenery, and is truly what its residents, the Cariocas, call the Cidade Maravilhosa (marvelous city). Its landmarks are the striking Sugar Loaf Mountain Pão de Açucar and Corcovado Mountain with its famous Christ Statue overlooking the city. Brazil's seasons are the reverse of those in the U.S., with summer from December to March. Rio's normal temperatures range from 75 to 95°F. Extremes vary from 40°F during winter to 105°F in the hot, humid summer. Intense rainfall also occurs throughout the year and may occasionally cause severe flooding within the city itself. Infrequent landslides affect housing on mountain slopes in densely populated slum areas known as favelas.

The city was Brazil's capital until 1960, and many government offices are located here. Rio is a focus of transportation, communications, military, cultural and journalistic activity. However, its history is as a seashore resort famous for its beaches, Carnaval, and its outgoing people But the continued population increase within Rio has created other problems common to a megalopolis: traffic congestion, air and noise pollution, and a high crime rate. Pollution and crime have, it fact, jeopardized the traditional tourist industry. The Department of State has designated the crime threat rating level for Rio as critical.

While Rio is cosmopolitan, Portuguese is necessary for everyday use (shopping, newspapers, and social events). Its beaches are often a focal point for recreational activities but they can be overcrowded and polluted.

Cariocas commonly refer to Rio being divided into three residential areas: Zona Sul (South Zone) and Zona Norte (North Zone) and Barra da Tijuca. There is a mountain range, which forms a spectacular, scenic separation between the zones. The Zona Sul area is significantly smaller. less than 1 million people and is also the area where virtually all official Americans reside. The sparsely populated area known as Centro, separates the relatively more affluent south zone from poorer neighborhoods in the north zone.

Another fast-growing and relatively new part of Rio de Janeiro is the southern suburb of Barra da Tijuca. This area which was once considered out of town is the fastest growing district in the city. Barra da Tijuca features several large shopping centers as well as large mega-markets, which include everything from groceries to clothes to hardware to car supplies (i.e., similar to Super Wal-Marts in the States). In addition to the shopping, dozens of new condominiums have sprung up. American fast food outlets are common. Office parks are also being built, not to mention major amusement parks. Barra da Tijuca is also home to the cleanest beaches in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

The American community in Rio is fairly large, with about 6,000 registered at the Consulate General. Only a relatively small number participate in activities that bring the expatriate community together. Rio's American Society organization is active. The American business community in Rio is strongly represented with Fortune 500 firms. The American Chamber of Commerce meets regularly and maintains full-time offices. However, significant reductions in the presence of American businessmen have had a marked affect on community life, including reduced enrollment by American students at the American School of Rio.


Rio has many large supermarkets. Selection is generally good. Many employees purchase fresh produce from weekly markets (feiras) that rotate through residential areas; costs can be higher but the quality is better. Each neighborhood has its own smaller grocery store, butcher, bakery, and other specialty shops which results in decentralized frequent shopping (Brazilians often shop on a daily basis). Local beef is not aged and lacks tenderness but is reasonably priced; lamb is generally not available. Fish and seafood are plentiful, but expensive. The COBAL in Leblon is another market similar to the feiras, but is covered. It is open Tuesday through Sunday. Fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh cut flowers, meat, seafood and poultry are available. The prices vary from stand to stand, but the quality is similar to those at the feiras or (better).

Recognized international and U.S. food companies manufacture many of their products in Brazil but retail prices are higher than in the U.S. Employees are supplied bottled drinking water. One and a half liter plastic bottles are now available at the supermarket; larger size containers can be home-delivered.


General: Bring lightweight, washable, comfortable clothing. Dry-cleaning is available but is expensive and not always reliable. Small clothing stores line shopping malls and shopping areas with reasonable selections and often focus on designer clothing. During summer days, beachwear is frequently the norm in shopping areas and restaurants. Shoes available here may not conform to U.S. sizes or durability. Good sandals and casual shoes are available locally. Shoe repair workmanship is good and reasonably priced.

Women: Although temperature differences between summer and winter are not wide, seasonal differences in dress are noticed. In summer, bright, gay colors, and patterns in lightweight materials predominate; in winter, lightweight woolens and knits in darker tones appear. A light jacket is occasionally needed, and during damp, rainy weather, a sweater or sweatshirt would be comfortable. Slacks and jogging suits are worn year round. Hose is rarely worn, except on dressier occasions or in office settings. Locally produced panty hose is of variable quality, so bring a supply from the U.S. A good selection of casual wear is a must for both seasons.

Bikinis dominate beach wear (Cariocas actually prefer the even briefer tanga), but all styles are worn. Frequent swimmers or sun-bathers should have several changes of beachwear to avoid drying problems. All styles of swimsuits and beach cover-ups are available locally, but larger sizes (above a US size 10) may be difficult to find. Evening social events require dressier clothing. Brazilian women favor long or very short dresses of silk and other fine materials. Dressy cottons and synthetics are practical.

Many seamstresses are available, but finding the right one is difficult. Some prefer to work in their own homes; others will work in a customer's home and must be provided a sewing machine. U.S. patterns are not available locally; some seam-stresses make their own patterns, use those in Brazilian fashion magazines, or copy from ready made clothing or pictures. If you sew, bring a supply of U.S. patterns. A wide variety of Brazilian textiles, some in wash-and-wear materials, is available. Many fabrics are not preshrunk. Quality materials cost more than U.S. goods.

Stylish belts, costume jewelry, purses and other accessories are available in Rio. Brazilian gems and jewelry designs are world renown. The quality of Brazilian ready-made clothing is adequate, but expensive. Women's sizes are not comparable to those in the U.S., particularly undergarments. Bring an ample supply of hot weather clothes, as during the long summer, repeated laundering and intense sun cause fabrics to fade and lose body.

Men: Heavy wool suits are never necessary. Suits of lightweight wool, linen, or other natural fiber are comfortable and practical. Dark suits are useful for evening events. The need for formal clothing is negligible in Rio.

Raincoats or overcoats are rarely seen on men except during a cool winter's rain. Ready-made suits in various materials are available locally, but cuts differ from the U.S. Tailors are expensive but offer quality continental-style tailoring.

Sports clothing is necessary. Long sleeved sports shirts in conservative colors and sports jackets are commonly worn to social functions and restaurants. A wide variety of good-quality sports clothes, including jeans, is available locally at prices roughly comparable to those in the U.S. Bring cheap, generic baseball caps for use on the beach. Cotton sweaters and light jackets are useful on cooler days.

Children: Children's shoes and clothes are more expensive and sometimes less durable. Most families order clothes from U.S. catalog companies.

Supplies and Services

Rio has several large shopping areas and malls where one can find both local and imported products. The variety is impressive. More specialized malls include the São Conrado Fashion Mall, emphasizing clothing, and the Rio Design Center in Leblon, with beautiful furniture and decorative accent pieces for the home. Many international pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies manufacture locally under license. Suntan lotion is an expensive item in Brazil. Appliances, household tools, electrical supplies, plastic ware, and a wide range of consumer goods are manufactured locally. Inmost instances, prices are higher than comparable U.S. items.

Beauty shops and barbershops abound. Prices are generally higher than U.S. levels, depending on location and reputation of the shop. Quality is good if language is no barrier. Some hairdressers for both men and women have trained in either the U.S. or Europe. Repair costs for electrical equipment and appliances, such as radios and TVs, are higher than U.S. prices. Reliable service is a problem.

Print film can be developed locally and 1-hour processing is available. Several good automobile repair shops exist. General bodywork is adequate but more sophisticated electronic repairs are difficult to obtain. Costs are sometimes high, especially for spare parts, and estimates should be requested before repairs are authorized. Spare parts for U.S. cars must be imported; tires are available locally for U.S. cars. Repair services for Brazilian made cars (Chevrolet, Ford, Fiat and VW) are good.

Domestic Help

The quality of domestic help varies and turnover is high. Domestics who have worked for other Americans are helpful, but few understand English, and you need at least a rudimentary knowledge of Portuguese. Most apartments have domestic quarters that are located off of the kitchen area. Employers furnish room and board, uniforms, and linens. A cook or housekeeper currently receives about $200-$400 monthly, plus the Brazilian Social Security contribution, currently 12% of salary. Day workers are paid from $20 to $40 per day plus lunch. Occasionally transportation cost will be assessed.

Religious Activities

Brazil is the most populous Roman Catholic nation in the world. Many Catholic churches are found in Rio. The Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy has services in English.

Protestant churches with English language services include the Union Church, a Protestant nondenominational church; the Christ Church (American Episcopal Church of England), which has an international membership; the International Baptist Church; the Christian Science; and the English Lutheran.

Jewish services are held at the Sinagoga Copacabana (Orthodox), the Associação Religiosa Israelita (Conservative), and the Centro Israelita Brasileiro (highly Conservative, Sephardic). All services are in Hebrew.


The American School, Escola Americana of Rio de Janeiro (EARJ), is a coeducational school offering a U.S. curriculum from pre-school through grade 12, including the International Baccalaureate degree. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of the U.S., it is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. Its enrollment is about 1,000, and U.S. colleges readily accept its graduates. The faculty numbers 118 (37 Americans). Students with American citizenship make up about 10% of the student body with about 85% being Brazilian students.

The first semester begins in early August and runs to mid-December; the second term runs from early February to mid-June. Extracurricular activities are at an extra expense. Classes are 5 days weekly, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in a modern, hillside complex of 9 interconnected buildings. Full cafeteria facilities are available; extracurricular activities are similar to those in U.S. schools. School buses serve most residential areas.

Arrangements for enrollment can be made directly with the Escola Americana, Estrada da Gavea, 132, Gavea Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22451-260 Brazil.

Our Lady of Mercy School, a coeducational Catholic school, follows an American curriculum for grades 1 through 12. The U.S. Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredits the school. The school is sponsored by the Society of Our Lady of Mercy and provides a chapel for English-speaking Catholics. Graduates have been readily accepted in U.S. colleges. Our Lady of Mercy also offers a pre-nursery school program for children age 2 and up.

The school term is similar to the American School. Hot lunches are available. Extracurricular activities are similar to those in U.S. Schools. Make enrollment arrangements directly with the Headmaster, Rua Visconde de Caravelas 48, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro RJ 22271-030, Brazil.

The British School is coeducational and offers instruction from pre-nursery through age 13. Following a British curriculum, it qualifies students for the British common entrance examinations. School terms are from February to July and August to December. Lunch is provided for all, except pre-nursery and kindergarten children who go home at noon. Large playground and playing fields are available for sports. School bus transportation is available. Average class size is 24. Enrollment is arranged through the Headmaster, The British School, Rua da Matriz, 76, Botafogo Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22260-100 Brazil.

Several pre-schools accept children as young as 1 year old. One such institution, St. Patrick's, teaches in English. All are more expensive than comparable U.S. facilities. Bus service is available for many. Arrangements for these schools may be made after you arrive at post. Generally, St. Patrick's accepts children age 2 and up. Classes are taught in English through the 4th grade.

Special Education Opportunities

Working knowledge of Portuguese greatly enhances any trip to Rio. Portuguese language training is available through various institutions. The Brazilian-U.S. Institute offers frequent Portuguese language courses. Tutors for private lessons are available. Portuguese courses are also available at any of several local universities. There are no programs of higher learning in the English language in Rio.


The main recreational activities relate to the beach. The popular beach promenades have all been illuminated and are now enjoyed by many both day and night. Games of soccer, volleyball and that incredible combination of the two, fute volley, seem to be going on 24 hours of the day. There are no public recreational facilities with swimming pools or golf courses. Club memberships within Rio range in price from the nicely affordable (Clube Flamengo) to the extravagantly expensive (Country Clube). While a few apartment buildings have facilities reserved for tenants, most buildings do not. The city does have a bicycle path that follows along certain beach areas. On Sundays and holidays, half of the primary beach avenue is closed to normal traffic to the great enjoyment of walkers, joggers, cyclists, and rollerbladers.

Soccer is the national sport. Brazil won the 1994 World Cup; the popularity of the sport is reflected by the size of Rio's Maracaña Stadium. It is one of the world's largest, originally configured to seat 200,000 people. The nearby smaller Maracañazinho Stadium is used for special events, such as ice shows and basketball games. Neighborhood soccer and volleyball games are also played frequently, as are weekend games on nearly every beach.

Rio's extensive beaches are popular for swimming, boogy boarding, and surfing but one must be alert to publicized, regular health warnings and avoid dangerous levels of water pollution. The advisability of beach swimming is published daily in the local newspapers. Strong undertow is also a common hazard. Many people with their own transportation travel to cleaner, less heavily populated beaches south of the city.

Sports equipment is manufactured locally and imported, but prices are generally higher than U.S. prices. Be sure to bring your bicycles and rollerblades.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

As a transportation and communications center, Rio offers excellent opportunities for touring all parts of Brazil. The cost of domestic air transportation is high. If possible, try to purchase the special Brazil Air Pass from the Brazilian carrier Varig prior to your arrival (not all travel agents can/will sell these since one purchase requirement may be the possession of a round trip ticket to Brazil from the U.S.).

For overland travel, many highways are good but sometimes crowded. Brazilian drivers are impatient in heavy traffic. Highway fatality rates are among the highest in the world. Night highway driving is exceptionally dangerous and is not recommended. Bus service, including the sleeper bus, is frequent, and not overly expensive. The bus conditions are varied but can be cramped.

An automobile trip of about an hour and a half will lead you to cooler mountain are. Quaint colonial cities, lovely seaside communities, and modern industrial centers are all within a 3-6 hour drive. Few roadside motel accommodations are available; lodgings at major destinations are satisfactory.

Camping, hang-gliding, surfing, surf fishing, mountain climbing, and water skiing are other activities available within Rio's vicinity. Deep-sea fishing is fair but expensive; freshwater fishing is available in the mountains. Hunting is prohibited in Brazil, except in Rio Grande do Sul.


The greatest single annual entertainment event in Rio is its famed Carnaval. During the 4 nights and 3 days preceding Ash Wednesday, commercial and official activities come to a complete standstill. Then samba schools, street parades, and night-long parties dominate Rio's scene. Carnaval also attracts many foreign visitors. Tickets for Carnaval balls and main parade seating are relatively expensive but the events, especially the parades, are exceptional and should not be missed.

From June to September, outstanding Brazilian and foreign artists offer varied programs of music, opera, and dance at several theaters. The Brazilian theater season is year round; both original Brazilian works and foreign plays are presented in Portuguese, and in an informal off-Broadway style. Children's plays are offered regularly in Portuguese. An English-language small theater group offers productions and performance opportunities on an irregular basis.

Nightclubs and small boate offer shows of varying quality; many feature jazz, samba music, and dancers. Well known foreign entertainers and groups appear occasionally at some larger theaters and nightclubs.

Movie theaters are numerous and good. First-run American and European films are shown with original dialogue and Portuguese subtitles at prices comparable to the U.S. Late-night network TV sometimes features programs in English. Rio has several good TV stations, which can help improve Portuguese language abilities. Many neighborhoods offer cable TV for a monthly fee with programs such as CNN, ESPN, and MTV Excellent FM radio broadcasting is also available.

Restaurants offer varied national and international cuisine at comparable U.S. prices. A churrascaria (specializing in barbecued meat) is a popular type of Rio restaurant.

Many art and historical museums are available. Rio also has interesting and photogenic churches, a large botanical garden, a major tropical forest park (Tijuca National Park), and a zoological park. Art galleries abound, and although prices of established Brazilian artists are high by U.S. standards, new painters always await discovery. Art courses in Portuguese are available at the Parque Lage, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Catholic University.

Rio has no English-language newspapers. Local newsstands regularly offer the Miami Herald and the International Herald Tribune; individual subscriptions can be arranged at reduced cost, but are still expensive. English language editions of some leading U.S. news magazines are also available.

Social Activities

The American Society and the International Newcomers Club help integrate the social activities of the American community. Another organization, "The Players," has periodic English language performances that provide opportunities related to the theater.

São Paulo

São Paulo is the largest and one of the fastest growing cities in South America. It is a thriving metropolis of contrasts, with skyscrapers built alongside small, residential houses; narrow cobblestone streets feed wide avenues; street vendors hawk their wares near five star hotels. A dynamic city rich in historic and modern culture, it boasts three symphony orchestras, many fine art galleries, and an international selection of museums. Thousands of avid spectators follow everything from soccer matches to horse races. São Paulo is the industrial and financial heart of Brazil, and the bustling city sets a pace that resembles New York City. [It is also home to fine restaurants, theaters, nightclubs, first-run movie theatres, and performances by major international stars.] With something of appeal from every point of view, these inviting contrasts make living and working in São Paulo exciting, interesting and challenging.


The water supply is plentiful in São Paulo. Water pressure is reasonable in all areas of the city. All parts of the city now have fluoridated water, although levels of fluoridation are below recommended U.S. levels. Tap water is not consistently potable anywhere in Brazil. Electric current is 110v 60 cycle, AC; 220v, 3-phase, AC, is available for ranges, high-voltage heaters, and dryers. Power interruptions are uncommon, though voltage regulators are recommended for occasional current fluctuations. Electrical outlets vary even within households and you will need several different types of adapters. They are available locally for a reasonable price, but you may want to bring an assortment.

In the past, U. S.-made appliances were preferred for quality and price to local products. However, appliances are now increasingly comparable to U.S. products in price, quality and availability.

Like any large U.S. city, São Paulo has a wide variety of local radio stations, including several FM stations with continuous (mostly American and Brazilian popular) music, classical music and talk radio. Radio short-wave bands receive VOA and BBC in the evening.

Local TV is on the PAL-M system, so U.S.-purchased sets (NTSC or European PAL sets) will only receive in black and white, unless modified-a process that is commonly performed for around 150 Reals. Videocassette recorders are popular and video clubs like Blockbuster are plentiful. However, U.S. VCRs are not compatible with PAL-M-only TVs and must be converted, the cost of which is about 100 Reals. Cable is available at costs comparable to U.S. prices.

São Paulo winters can be cold and damp. The temperature rarely drops below 32 Fahrenheit, and central heating is nonexistent. Electric blankets and space heaters are recommended. Blankets and comforters are more expensive in São Paulo, so bring a sufficient supply. As a side note, pollution tends to be heavier in the winter months. Occasionally, this affects individuals with allergies or respiratory problems. You may want to bring air purifiers.


Most foods are available locally. Pasteurized fresh milk, butter, cheeses, and other products are plentiful. Almost all fresh fruits and vegetables are available year round in supermarkets, as well as open-air fruit and vegetable markets. Oranges, tangerines, bananas, pineapples, papayas, melons, mangoes, and other fruits are always in season. Locally grown apples, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, and grapes are available seasonally, and imported varieties, year round. Ample supplies of meat and fish exist. American-type supermarkets and European-style hypermarkets carry locally made goods that compare with U.S. brands. Some of these supermarkets also offer U.S. cuts of beef (Brazilian cuts differ markedly from U.S. cuts). Local wines and spirits are of good quality.


Although São Paulo's climate is milder than that of the northeastern U.S., bring clothes for cool and rainy weather, including sweaters, fall suits, raincoats, and umbrellas. Rain is common in São Paulo and during the summer there can be heavy rainstorms each afternoon. Every family member needs at least one good umbrella. Temperatures vary, so layered dressing is important. Fall and winter (June-October) can be chilly. Bring light and warm clothing that can be worn indoors due to of lack of central heating. An all-weather coat with removable lining should meet your outdoor needs. Those accustomed to living in very warm climates may need a pair of gloves, a scarf, and a knit hat.

Local shoes vary in quality though shoes are stylish and easily found although narrow widths are not readily available. Walking shoes are a must and, due to uneven, cobblestone sidewalks, occasional heel repair is necessary. Leather is of good quality. São Paulo is a high fashion city; every new fashion can be seen and is acceptable, from conservative to trendy. All types of sports goods and clothing are sold in São Paulo, at prices similar to those found in the U.S.

Dress for social functions is often business attire, depending on the nature of the event. Tuxedo or formal dress rental places are abundant throughout the city. Long dresses are seldom worn to formal dinners. For women, local lingerie, hose, and other nylon clothing are of lesser quality than U.S. made products, but are readily available.

Supplies and Services

It is important to note that the Brazilian economy is drastically changing and therefore it is difficult to state with certainty that Brazilian-made products are higher or lower in cost relative to the U.S., although imported items are generally higher-priced (e.g., some clothing, luxury items). The cost of living is comparable to that in Washington, D.C. Dining out, food purchases, and entertainment (theater, movies, etc.) cost the same or less.

Miscellaneous toiletries, cosmetics, household needs, cigarettes, tobacco, and liquor products are sold on the Brazilian market. However, not every brand is consistently available. American-style supermarkets and superstores like Wal-Mart and Sam's Club sell all types of household cleaning equipment. Prescription and nonprescription drugs, many made by subsidiaries of U.S. or European companies, are available at reasonable prices. Imported cosmetics are more expensive, but some U.S. brand names (Revlon, Helena Rubinstein, etc.) are manufactured locally. Travellers with infants or small children may want to bring disposable diapers, a supply of baby food, any special baby formula, and a bottle warmer in accompanied airfreight. Disposable diapers are available locally, but are expensive.

Dry-cleaning and laundry services are common and equal to U.S. prices. Shoe repair is inexpensive, workmanship is good, and rubber and leather are used for heels and heel tips. Nylon is not generally available. Hair salons are less expensive than in the U.S.; work is good and reasonably priced. Consider bringing your favorite hair shampoos, rinses, and sprays, as these are not consistently available. Repair work on watches, radios, stereos, televisions, and other electrical appliances is good.

The quality of auto maintenance and repair facilities is inconsistent. Repair work is good, but most services take more time than in the U.S. GM, Ford, Fiat, and VW produce cars locally at favorable prices.

Domestic Help

Domestic help is readily available, but trained servants are hard to find and few speak English. Salaries depend on class of servant, i.e., trained cooks earn R$100 to R$150 a week; live-in housekeeper, R$100 and up. Staff with newborns often hire a live-in nurse who has had about 6 months of formal education in pediatric nursing. The live-in nurse earns around R$125 a week. Families with older children often employ a live-in nanny. Salaries may change as the economy settles.

Brazilian houses and apartments are designed with a maid's room and private bath, located near the laundry and kitchen area. Employers can provide uniforms, and live-ins normally receive bedding, towels, and furniture. Servants get one day off weekly, plus major national and religious holidays. Under the Brazilian Constitution, employers must give servants a 13th-month bonus equal to one month's salary or prorated to the length-of employment during the year. Also, the employer must contribute to the local Brazilian retirement system for the domestic employee.

Medical Care

São Paulo has very competent doctors and dentists. Many speak English and were trained in the U.S. Quality orthodontic services are available as well. In general, the costs for an office visit are equal to fees in the U.S. Maternity and other in-hospital care is good, despite a lack of thorough training for support personnel.

Religious Activities

São Paulo has many churches and synagogues. Many Protestant churches, including the Fellowship Community Church, inter-denominational; St. Paul's (Anglican); Calvary International Church; First Church of Christ Scientist; and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, hold English-language services. The American priests of the Order of the Oblate Fathers conduct services in English at the Chapel School. A Greek Orthodox Cathedral also exists. The city has several synagogues. The largest, Congregacão Israelita Paulista, follows the conservative traditions and has an American rabbi.

Religious-oriented summer camps are available for children.


Three schools in São Paulo follow the U.S. public school curriculum: the São Paulo Graded School, the Chapel School (School of Mary Immaculate), and the Pan American Christian Academy. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits all three schools.

The local Chamber of Commerce established the São Paulo Graded School, in 1929. The faculty, though predominantly American, employs teachers of several nationalities. Instruction is from kindergarten through grade 12. There is also a large preschool for 3-year-olds and older. The preschool and lower grades are taught on a modified Montessori program. The school follows curriculum standards of New York State. Enrollment is about 1,168; 38% are U.S. citizens. Facilities include a gym, auditorium, science labs, computer center, satellite TV, libraries, and a cafeteria serving hot lunches. Buses serve all residential areas. Most sports played in the U.S., except American football, are offered; teams compete within the school and with other American schools in Brazil. Additional extracurricular activities include theater, yearbook, and scouting. A program for students with special learning problems is available.

Felician Sisters and lay teachers staff Escola Maria Imaculada (The Chapel School) under the direction of the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate. Instruction is from nursery school through grade 12. Advanced placement and the International Baccalaureate are integral parts of its quality academic program. Most graduates are accepted into universities and colleges of their first choice. The students represent over 30 countries; 40% of the students are non-Catholics and enrollment is 700; 25% are U.S. citizens. Facilities include: two libraries, a gym, a large playing field, a cafeteria, an auditorium, science labs, a computer center, an audiovisual room, an infirmary staffed by a nurse, and a student union. Organized sports include soccer, basketball, gymnastics, softball, tennis, handball, and volleyball both varsity and junior varsity teams. The school is a member of the São Paulo High School League. Twice a year, sports meets are held with American schools in São Paulo, Brasilia, and Rio de Janeiro at alternating locations. Additional extracurricular activities include judo, cooking, ballet, debating, choral groups, and band.

The Pan-American Christian Academy is operated by evangelical missionaries and is located some distance outside the city. Instruction from kindergarten through grade 12 is conducted in English. The level of instruction and discipline is reportedly high. Enrollment is approximately 317; 40% are U.S. citizens.

Each school begins in early August and runs through early June, with a 6-week midyear vacation in December and January. Requirements for enrollment are similar to those in the U.S. Schools adequately prepare students for entrance into U.S. colleges and universities.

Two preschool programs often used by American families are: Playpen, a Montessori school that has classes in English, and Portuguese and Tiny Tots, a preschool operated by a British-Brazilian family, with instruction in both English and Portuguese. Both often offer instruction during periods when the major schools (Graded, Chapel, etc.) are not in session. There are numerous other preschool programs in Portuguese throughout the city.

Tuition costs vary according to school and grade, with higher costs for middle school and senior high school.

A French-language school and a British school, St. Paul's, are also available. Also, many Brazilian nursery schools and kindergartens offer excellent, inexpensive programs. The required Portuguese language programs at the American schools are good, but some families send younger children to a public or private Brazilian school to learn Portuguese. Most Brazilian schools do not have facilities for children with speech or learning problems. Differences exist in preparation for American and Brazilian universities; therefore it is not recommended that you use Brazilian schools beyond the primary level.

Special Educational Opportunities

Although São Paulo has several fine universities, among which are the University of São Paulo, Mackenzie University, and Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV), you must be fluent in Portuguese in order to take advantage of their study programs. The Alumni Association and Uniao Cultural, two U.S. Brazil binational centers in the city, offer Portuguese language courses that can be used to supplement the post's language training program. However, there are certain opportunities for educational advancement available in English.

Through the Graded School, graduate level education courses are periodically offered for teachers, parents, and community members, with priority for enrollment in that order. These courses are taught by visiting professors from U.S. universities. The Graded School also offers courses in computers for teachers, parents, and members of the community. Other computer courses, in English and Portuguese, are available at private institutes throughout the city. Many schools of dance, adult exercise classes, and tutors in music, ballet, and painting are available.


Like other metropolis areas, São Paulo has various spectator sports. The most popular sport is soccer. Horse, auto and motorcycle racing, basketball games, tennis and golf tournaments, sailing regattas, polo, boxing, and wrestling matches complete the picture. São Paulo has no public golf courses or tennis courts, but many private tennis, squash, and racquetball courts are widely available on a pay-as-you-go basis. Private clubs include facilities for golf, tennis, swimming, horseback riding, boating, and basketball. Membership is expensive.

Most sporting equipment sold locally is comparable to price and quality of products in the U.S.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

The area around São Paulo is ideal for weekend excursions. Many beach and mountain resorts are within 100 miles of São Paulo and connected by good roads. Hotel quality and prices vary greatly, though most are very reasonable. Weekend houses are sometimes available for rent. The northern coast has various little towns and pristine beaches where hotel rooms are as little as $15 a night and rental boats will take you to secluded natural pools.

Iguaçu Falls (2 hours by air) offers one of Latin America's unique tourist sights. You may want to take an extra day to visit the falls from the Argentine side. The huge Itaipu hydroelectric project is nearby. Other popular outings for weekends or vacations include Rio de Janeiro; Ouro Preto, a mining town in Minas Gerais, with colonial baroque churches and other old towns nearby; Campos do Jordão; and Brasilia, a stunning example of city planning and modern architecture. Local travel agencies can be helpful in obtaining tour packages throughout Brazil and to other South American locations. Sdo Paulo and Mato Grosso offer excellent fishing and camping along the coast.

Weekly artist fairs are held on Sundays at the Praça da Republica, in the Asian neighborhood of Liberdade, and in Embu, on the outskirts of Sdo Paulo. These fairs offer local artwork, handicrafts, and geological specimens. The city also has many shopping facilities reminiscent of those in American cities.


Sdo Paulo offers excellent, professional theater in Portuguese. During winter, several symphonies often offer concerts, some with guest soloists. Operas are presented and local and touring concert groups and ballet companies also perform. Most movie theaters feature first-run American or foreign movies, as well as many Brazilian films. Foreign movies are usually shown with Portuguese subtitles. The city has many world-class art museums and galleries. Every 2 years, São Paulo hosts the Biennial, an internationally important modern art exposition, with extensive multinational representation.

With about 25,000 restaurants, cafes, and bars, São Paulo is one of the world's greatest cities for dining out. The city is especially rich in Italian, Japanese, and continental restaurants, and almost all ethnic communities are well represented. Brazilian churrascarias abound, serving a wide variety of richly seasoned, grilled meats accompanied by generous salad bars and side dishes. Fast food branches of American chains or local imitations are increasingly available.

Social Activities

There is a wide range of both business and social events, while home entertaining is also common. Much of the entertaining in the American community consists of luncheons and dinners.

The Newcomers Club, an English speaking club composed of all nationalities, is open to individuals for their first 2 years in Brazil. The club helps newcomers get acquainted and settled, and provides an opportunity for members to exchange information. Social activities include coffees and teas, museum outings, luncheons, dinners, book exchanges, and trips.

The American Society is a social and philanthropic organization for Americans in São Paulo. It organizes an annual field day for American Society members on the Fourth of July, an eggnog party at Christmas, and sponsors other social activities during the year. The American Society also issues an annual directory of members, a handy classified shopper's guide in English, and publishes a monthly newspaper with news of the English-speaking community. The American Society has a welfare program that provides financial, medical, and educational assistance to U.S. citizens in distress and also sponsors little league baseball, soccer, and flag football.

The São Paulo Women's Club, an international English-speaking club, provides social, cultural, and charitable activities. These include two book clubs, a free circulating library, a chorus, small theater group, current events group, and classes in bookbinding, painting, languages, and gems.

Masons, Rotary, and Lions clubs meet regularly in São Paulo. Illinois and São Paulo participate in a program called Joint Partners of the Americas. Finally, the PTAs of the three American schools sponsor many children's activities, such as sports teams and competitions, scouting, drama, dances, and school trips.

Special Information

If you are traveling between June and October, include cool weather clothing in ac companied baggage; other times brim warm weather clothing.

The winter is brief but can be chilly. An all-weather coat with zip out lining should meet your needs. Those accustomed to living in warm climates may need a pair of gloves, a scarf, and a knit hat. Children need a warm jacket. For the rest of the year, cardigan and pullover sweaters and sweatshirts in assorted weights will suffice.

It rains nearly every afternoon in summer (December to February). Therefore, each family member needs at least one good umbrella. Plastic rainwear is uncomfortable, and a lightweight cloth raincoat would be preferable. Footwear for wet weather is also useful.

Travelers with infants or small children should include disposable diapers, a supply of baby food, any special baby formula, and a bottle warmer in accompanied airfreight. Disposable diapers are available locally, but are expensive and of poor quality.

São Paulo has competent doctors and dentists. Many speak English and were trained in the U.S. Their fees for an office visit are higher than fees in the U.S. Adequate orthodontic services are available at prices higher than those in the U.S.

Maternity and other hospital care is good, despite the absence of thorough training for support personnel. Admission to private institutions, even for an emergency, requires a substantial cash deposit if you do not belong to a local health plan.

São Paulo is a major metropolitan area with all the noise, pollution, and congestion found in large cities. Pollution levels are high, which affects those with allergies or respiratory problems. Heavy traffic and noise are common problems.


Recife, a city of startling contrasts, stretches 30 miles along Brazil's east coast. Miles of attractive beaches front the modern, luxury suburbs of Boa Viagem and Piedade at the city's southern tip. The central city, situated on two islands and the delta formed by the Capibaribe and Beberibe Rivers, is laced with numerous old and new bridges. It is a bustling, dynamic area, with thousands of taxis and small passenger vans clogging the narrow streets. The total absence of a grid system, the rivers winding through the city, and maze of one-way streets (at times unmarked) make finding one's way a challenge.

Recife's many small parks and plazas are well maintained. The thriving open market, Mercado de São Jose, is a principal tourist attraction, as are feiras (smaller markets) scattered throughout the city. Colonial Portuguese churches abound, the railroad station is a well-restored Victorian marvel, and an adjacent former prison has been converted into the Casa da Cultura, where hundreds of stalls feature local handicrafts. Neighboring Olinda is considered one of Brazil's greatest colonial treasures and offers a fascinating glimpse into 17th century architecture.

Recife is the capital of Pernambuco and is the principal port city of Brazil's developing northeast. It is the commercial, cultural, and political center of the consular district, which has about 40 million people. The city has 2 million inhabitants; the greater metropolitan area has 3.5-4 million inhabitants. The city skyline is an impressive jumble of modern skyscrapers and sturdy old church towers. Residential areas along the Boa Viagem, Piedade and Candeias beaches feature kilometers of 2030 story apartment buildings.

Developing industrialization includes sugar refining, alcohol distillation, truck assembly, aluminum fabrication, and the manufacture of textiles, rum, vegetable oils, leather, glass, ceramics, canned goods, pharmaceuticals, paint, electronic equipment, and synthetic rubber. Tourism is an expanding industry with a growing influx of tourists traveling from southern Brazil during winter and summer and from Europe in winter. Agriculture remains the base of the Pernambuco economy; sugar has been the principal crop for over 300 years. Cotton raised in the interior, sisal, livestock, and fruits, vegetables, and grain crops are also economically important. Over the past few years, Brazil's largest center for the production of irrigated tropical fruit has developed in Petrolina, about 700 km west of Recife.

The countryside surrounding Recife is tropical, hilly, and fertile; it reaches inland some 20-30 miles. The undulating foothills and low mountains of the drier agreste region offer some relief from the tropical monotony of the coast. The agreste gives way to the semiarid sertão which stretches far into the central regions of the Northeast. It is dry and desolate most of the year; its cowboy folklore reminds one of the American southwest. Its location on the eastern extremity of Brazil places Recife about 1,500 miles across the south Atlantic from Dakar, Senegal, and about 1,300 miles north of São Paulo. Recife's geographic location makes it an important refueling point for transatlantic flights from South America to Europe. There are currently several non-stop flights a week to Miami as well as to destinations in Europe. Local connections to other Brazilian cities are also widely available and deregulation in recent years has led to a drop in domestic airfares. While few American tourists visit Recife, increasing numbers are visiting other beach cities in the consular district, most notably Natal and Fortaleza. Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago approximately 400 miles northeast of Recife which belongs to Pernambuco state, is rapidly gaining international notoriety as a destination for ecotourism.

Recife is located on the eastern edge of Brazil's time zone; sun time is over an hour ahead of clock time. Throughout the year it is dark soon after the Consulate closes at 5 pm, and there are never daylight hours for outdoor activities in the evening. Many Brazilians rise with the sun at 4:30 or 5:30 am and exercise on Boa Viagem beach or use the 8-kilometer walkway that stretches the length of the beach. For the late starter, for whom vigorous early morning exercise has little appeal, there are other options, including golf, equestrian sports and sports facilities at local clubs.

Recife has year-round rainfall, but the winter rainy season (May-September) has heavy daily rains that account for most of the annual 77 inches along the Pernambuco coast. Summer (October-April) is drier, with many clear, beautiful days. During the winter rainy season humidity is high and temperature variations are slight; the thermometer rises from 80°F to almost 90 degrees F, distinguishing winter from summer. The Northeast averages 250 days of sun per year, and the sun shines at least part of the day even during the rainy season. The climate is not unbearably tropical, due to prevailing trade winds. Nevertheless, many expatriates experience problems with upper respiratory allergies during the rainy season, and post has obtained dehumidifiers to alleviate problems with some success.

Brazilians are a mixture of many ethnic groups: Portuguese, African, and Brazilian Indian backgrounds predominate in the Northeast. The largest foreign community is Portuguese, but small French, German, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, and Middle East groups exist. There are over 2,000 Americans registered in the Consular district and approximately 25% live in Recife. Many of those registered are dual nationals, although there is an important American missionary community.


Recife's modern, air-conditioned supermarkets are well stocked and provide all the essentials to meet food and other household requirements of the average American family. In addition, the city is host to several specialty stores that provide oriental and other ethnic foods. Some types of meat, veal for example, are hard to obtain, but aside from this, you can maintain a perfectly adequate nutritional regimen with the food products available locally. Exceptional local tropical fruits and vegetables are available year round. Temperate climate fruits are brought in from southern Brazil and Argentina.


Men: Summer clothes may be worn year round as temperatures seldom fall below 70 degree F. Most businessmen are casual in their dress, although some, such as bankers, still prefer suits to sport shirts.

Wash-and-wear items are most practical. Local custom-made linen, tropical worsteds, and Brazilianmade wash-and-wear suits range from $200 to $300, but are of lower quality. Bring at least one or two dark, lightweight suits for business calls and evening social functions.

You do not need hats (although caps for use in outdoor activities are highly recommended), but bring shirts, underwear, socks, and shoes. You can buy good-quality imported shirts in Recife, but they are expensive. Summer-weight washable slacks and shorts are useful, as is beach attire. Dry cleaning is available, but of questionable quality and expensive. Formal attire, such as a tuxedo or smoking jacket, is rarely required (only for the Carnaval ball). Tuxedos can be purchased or rented locally.

Women: Clothing stores are plentiful and varied, although Brazilian styles are considerably tighter fitting than U.S. clothing. Bring plenty of comfortable summer clothing: skirts, shorts, shirts, and bathing suits. A good basic evening wardrobe might consist of washable cocktail separates (pants, skirts, blouses, etc.) and a few washable evening dresses. Cotton dresses and separates are preferable for afternoon functions.

Dressmakers range from expensive designers to tailors who take in mending; in between are competent, reasonable dressmakers who can adequately copy the simple lines of current fashions. Fabrics are available locally. Hats are seldom worn (except for informal hats and caps for outdoor activities). Carnaval calls for costumes of fancy dress or shorts and a T-shirt.

Children: Bring children's clothing from the U.S. Given the weather, do not purchase winter clothes. Spring and summer weight clothing can be used year-round. Children rarely require long pants. Local seam-stresses can be hired to mend and alter clothing and to make play clothing for children, although inexpensive locally manufactured play clothing is available and of acceptable quality.

Supplies and Services

Brazilian cosmetics and toiletries, many manufactured under agreements with U.S. firms, resemble U.S. products and are plentiful but more expensive than their U.S. counterparts. Internet buying services offer an excellent option for the purchase of U.S. goods.

Dry-cleaning service is available in Recife, but the quality is not up to U.S. standards. Full-or part-time launderers work in homes. Good beauty shops are available. Men's haircuts average $10. Women's cuts and styling range from $20-$40.

Repair work on radios, TVs, and other electrical appliances is not always satisfactory, but authorized service centers are available for most major brands. Parts are available, but expensive. Recife has the second most developed medical infrastructure in Brazil, and as a result medical and dental care is excellent, but more expensive than in the U.S. Note: Check your health insurance before arrival to see if overseas claims are based on an U.S. fee schedule or on a straight percentage of charges.

Domestic Help

Servants are necessary in Recife for the American or Brazilian running a household. The system benefits the family in that necessary household help is supplied, and employment and security is provided for semiliterate and untrained persons. Nannies are also common and readily available. Current monthly wages (including all benefits are estimated as follows: cook/house-keeper, $200; nanny $200; cook, $150; housekeeper, $150. Fringe benefits include quarters for the live-in cook and housekeeper (all housing, including smallest apartments, provides separate servants quarters and bath), food, uniforms, and social security/health insurance (for those that do not live in, a transportation allowance is also provided). Live-in employees are more common and less expensive. Part-time domestic employees charge on average $200 a month. A note of caution, finding suitable servants can be difficult and challenging.

Religious Activities

Recife has churches of almost every denomination including a synagogue, but few English-speaking services. English-language Baptist church services and a children's Sunday school are held every Sunday. Many beautiful and historical Catholic churches are located in Recife and in the adjoining town of Olinda. Mass is conducted in Portuguese. Many Catholic churches hold special Masses for adults, family, and youth. The youth mass is particularly interesting for young people who bring their guitars for group singing.


The American School of Recife, founded in 1957, is a private, non-sectarian coeducational school that offers an instructional program from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 for students of all nationalities. The school is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors elected for a 2-year term by the Association, composed of the parents of children enrolled in the School. The Principal Officer is a non-voting member of the school board.

The curriculum is mainly that of U.S. general academic, preparatory, public schools. The Southern Association of Colleges accredits the school. There are 32 full-time and 6 part-time faculty members, of which 13 are U.S. citizens, 20 Brazilians, and 5 of other nationalities. Enrollment is approximately 350 students of which 40 are U.S. citizens, 250 host-country nationals, and 60 third-country nationals.

The school occupies an 8.5-acre site in a beautiful residential area of Recife. The pre-K/Kindergarten, elementary and high schools are in separate buildings. General facilities include classrooms, a science laboratory, two audio/visual rooms, a computer laboratory, a library with 12,000 volumes and a small theater. The school also has an adequate snack bar and lunch area as well as spacious sports and playground facilities.

Special Educational Opportunities

An art academy and a music conservatory are located in Recife. The Federal University of Pernambuco School of Fine Arts offers courses in theory, instrumentation, and ensemble playing. Private instruction is available on musical instruments. Private art instruction and group ballet lessons are also available.

Spouses need a basic command of Portuguese before coming to Recife; all practical day-to-day communications is in Portuguese. Additional language instruction for adult dependents is available.


Many health clubs and fitness centers in the city offer aerobics, gymnastics, dance, and exercise equipment. They are similar to those in the U.S., with trained instructors and such amenities as saunas, steam baths, and optional massages. Membership fees are low by U.S. standards and are paid monthly.

Other social clubs offer recreational facilities in the city. There is also a golf and equestrian club.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

The Northeast offers some of the best beaches in Brazil, and many are less than a day's drive from Recife. Beaches range from established resorts to isolated stretches and most are easily accessible by vehicle, although a four-wheel drive vehicle would be preferable. Other one-day sightseeing trips afford visits to sugarcane plantations and mills, forts from the Dutch era in the 17th century, and quaint fishing villages on the coast and inlets. Most major routes are paved, and the remote, adventuresome routes are passable, except during the rainy season.

Several small towns, from 2-3 hours away offer a cooler, drier climate than the coastal region. Satisfactory overnight accommodations are available. Other cities in the consular district, such as Fortaleza, Natal and João Pessoa offer considerable tourist attractions. Salvador, the colorful, historic first capital of Brazil is approximately an hour's flight south. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are a 2-1/2-hour flight south.


Recife has several modern multiplex theaters offering first-run U.S. and Brazilian movies. Several comfortable movie theaters also show other foreign films. Foreign films are in their original language with Portuguese subtitles, although children's films are dubbed. Recife has many restaurants ranging from simple, beachfront seafood houses in Olinda, to luxurious and expensive restaurants in Boa Viagem. Downtown restaurants are patronized mainly at lunchtime. Open-air restaurants along the beach in Boa Viagem are popular for evenings and weekends. Cuisines include Chinese, Italian, and seafood restaurants; churrascarias for grilled meats are also available. Prices vary, but dinner for two with wines is less than in the U.S.

The renovated old city, Recife Antigo, offers an excellent option for nightlife. Open-air bars and sidewalk cafes, along with cultural events sponsored by the city, make Recife Antigo the center of nightlife in the city. There are several large discos and nightclubs (including Brazil's largest) which are very popular.

Recife also has several large modern shopping centers with many services, including bowling alleys and arcades. One, Shopping Recife, is the largest shopping center in South America.

Several radio stations and five color TV stations broadcast in Recife. An American black-and-white TV operates with a transformer and a voltage regulator. U.S. color sets need a PAL-M to NTSC converter, which can be purchased in the U.S. Local TVs are readily available, although more expensive than U.S. TVs.

Local TV offers numerous variety shows, popular Brazilian novelas (soap operas), daily national news programs, public interest features, Brazilian soccer and, occasionally, world sports events. Direct TV is available as are affordable satellite TV services offering US premium cable channels.

No English-language newspapers are published in Recife; foreign news is sparsely covered in the local press. The Latin American editions of Time and Newsweek are available weekly. However, internet service is readily available and inexpensive (approximately $20 per month for unlimited access).

Recife's Carnaval is world famous. It is considered the largest street carnival in the world. Two events during Carnaval, the Bloco de Parceria on the Sunday before Carnaval and the Galo de Madrugada the Saturday of Carnaval vie for the title of largest concentration of people in the Guinness Book of World Records (each brings an estimated 2 million people together). Tourists from around the world flock to Olinda and Recife Antigo for more traditional carnivals. Other important celebrations include the São Joao festival in June, which offers typical northeastern music and dancing and special Brazilian dishes, and Recifolia, one of the largest out-of-season carnivals in Brazil. Several libraries are located in Recife for those who can read Portuguese, although books cannot be loaned out. A small library of American books and current periodicals is located at the binational center.

Social Activities

This region of Brazil is known for its hospitality and receptivity to foreigners. Most of the social activity in Recife revolves around the extended family, which often includes close family friends. Dinners are also common. Most entertaining, both in a family or more formal setting, is done at home. Entertaining is also more informal in nature, reflecting this family orientation.

The social life in Recife is active and Americans are readily welcomed into the community. Adults, adolescents and children quickly develop their own social life and meet frequently for parties and various activities.

Pôrto Alegre

Pôrto Alegre, capital of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, is the center of one of the most prosperous areas of Brazil. The city, with an estimated population of 2.9 million, lies at sea level at the mouth of the Guaíba River, the head of the sea's freshwater outlet, Lagoa dos Patos. The State of Rio Grande do Sul covers 108,951 square miles, and is slightly larger than Colorado. It is bordered on the north by the State of Santa Catarina, on the west by Argentina, and on the south by Uruguay.

Traditionally an agricultural state, it grows and processes rice, corn, wheat, soybeans, livestock, and a variety of other products. Extensive industrial expansion, including the refining of petroleum and its byproducts, and the production of steel, ships, footwear and leather products, wine, wood, paper and cellulose, textiles, and electrical products has occurred in recent years.

Although Pôrto Alegre's basic cultural pattern is dominated by its Luso-Brazilian heritage, this has been modified by Texas-like gaucho traditions, and (more recently) by heavy German and Italian immigration.

Pôrto Alegre's architecture reflects its historical development: early colonial buildings, baroque structures derived from Italy and France, and Brazilian modern design. Pôrto Alegre is built on hills, some of them quite steep. Narrow cobblestone streets, buses, and taxis, and many office buildings in the downtown district contribute to traffic congestion that is out of proportion to the city's size.

The Americans in Pôrto Alegre include those on assignment with agencies of the U.S. Government, a small number of business firms, and several religious organizations. The British community is somewhat larger. Periodically, American business representatives visit the city. Membership in the American Chamber of Commerce is almost entirely Brazilian.

Schools for Foreigners

Rio Grande do Sul, and Pôrto Alegre in particular, has one of the best school systems in Brazil, but all instruction is in Portuguese. Fluency in that language is more or less mandatory for admission and for satisfactory performance in Brazilian schools.

The only English-language school in Pôrto Alegre is the Pan-American School, which offers kindergarten through eighth grade, and can provide correspondence-school supervision for grades nine through 12. The school was organized in 1966, and had a 1991 enrollment of about 87 students. There were nine full-time and seven part-time teachers at the school in 1991. The Pan-American School is a coeducational institution with a U.S.-style curriculum. The school has 12 classrooms, a 5,000-volume library, playing field, computer lab, and science lab. Extracurricular activities include soccer, field trips, and school newspaper. Information is available from the school at Rua João Paetzel 440, 90.000 Pôrto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Four private American missionary schools exist but, as the founders have died or been replaced by Brazilian teachers, the schools have lost their U.S. character. The schools are Colegio Americano (Methodist for girls), Instituto Pôrto Alegre (Methodist for boys), Colegio Batista (Baptist, coeducational), and Ginasio Menino Deus (Catholic, coeducational in the primary grades, operated by the Bernardine Sisters from the U.S., but taught mostly by Brazilian nuns). All offer first grade through high school. Children, especially girls, must wear uniforms.

Several good Portuguese-language schools are in Pôrto Alegrethe Colegio Anchieta (Jesuit, coeducational), Colegio Farroupilha (coeducational), Colegio de Aplicacão (junior high and high school, coeducational), Colegio Rosario (Marist Brothers for boys), and Colegio Sevigne (Sisters of St. Joseph for girls). Pôrto Alegre's Jewish community runs the Ginasio Israelita Brasileiro. Schools are in session about four hours a day, morning or afternoon, six days a week. Children too young to travel alone are taken to and from school by parents. A few private institutions have buses.

Principal universities in Pôrto Alegre, among the first in Brazil, are Catholic University and Federal University. Courses are taught in Portuguese. Private Portuguese-language instruction on a reasonable hourly basis may be arranged.


Many sports are available in the Pôrto Alegre area, among them tennis, golf, yachting, fishing, swimming, riding, and trap, skeet, and target shooting. A number of clubs maintain good tennis courts, and several clubs also have swimming pools. Ocean swimming is available at beach resorts such as Torres, Capão da Canoa, Tramandaí, and Cassino, two to six hours by car from the city. There is a fine harbor at Veleiros do Sul, one of the two major yacht clubs. The other club, Jangadeiros, caters to day sailors and holds frequent regattas for small centerboard sloops. Motor-boating is also popular.

Spectator sports are soccer and horse racing.

Those interested in touring will find Caxias do Sul an interesting spot. About 75 miles north of Pôrto Alegre in the center of the mountainous wine-growing region, it is a clean and attractive city well worth visiting. The Italian community holds an annual wine festival there. Slightly closer than Caxias do Sul is the mountain resort town of Gramado. Many people living temporarily in Pôrto Alegre also make trips to Florianópolis, the capital of Santa Catarina, to enjoy the fine beaches. Iguaçú Falls are accessible by scheduled airlines in a three-hour flight or a one-day drive over good roads. Bordered by Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, the falls are world renowned for their volume and beauty.


Pôrto Alegre has several air-conditioned movie theaters. U.S films (six months to one year old) predominate, supplemented by French, Italian, German, British, and Brazilian productions.

The Pôrto Alegre Symphony Orchestra plays at least once a month in season, and another concert series brings international guest artists to the city. Professional Brazilian theater companies perform occasionally. The city offers many good restaurants, some featuring German, Italian, or Chinese cuisine, as well as the traditionalchurrasco (barbecue). Several nightclubs exist.

Celebration of Carnaval season is fairly moderate and is best represented by social events organized by clubs and neighborhood groups.

Many members of the English-speaking community join the British Club. Facilities include tennis courts, swimming and wading pools, and playground equipment. Although the club serves as a gathering place for English speakers, membership is not confined to persons familiar with the language. The International Women's Association also offers opportunities for social activities.

One of the attractive features of visiting or living in Pôrto Alegre is the chance to meet and know Brazilians, and the only limit to the newcomer's international contacts is language. Pôrto Alegre has several active Rotary and Lions clubs and Masonic lodges. The ability to speak Portuguese fluently will greatly enhance opportunities for social contact.

Special Information

Santa Catarina, in the U.S. consular district of Pôrto Alegre, is in the south temperate zone of Brazil. Its climate is similar to that of Rio Grande do Sul. The state is divided into three distinct geographical zones: the coastal plain, the central highlands, and the western highlands. The state borders Argentina to the west, Paraná to the north, and Rio Grande do Sul to the south. The capital is Florianópolis.

Blessed with abundant rainfall and numerous lakes, the state is one of Brazil's most beautiful. The coastal area includes superb beaches and coves, and attracts visitors from many parts of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

The State of Santa Catarina's population of four million includes 30 percent German, 30 percent Italian, 15 percent Portuguese, 10 percent Polish, five percent Russian, five percent Negro, and five percent of mixed origin. Santa Catarina is the most European of Brazil's states. Entire communities of German-speaking peoples abound, especially in the Blumenau-Joinville-Brusque area. The architecture, language, music, and cultural traditions all give the state the air of a central European country.

Santa Catarina has elementary and secondary schools in all municipalities of 2,000 inhabitants or more. In the western highlands, few secondary and preparatory schools exist.

The only accredited university in the state, the Federal University of Santa Catarina, is in Florianópolis. Present enrollment is about 6,000 full-time students. Separate faculties also exist in Joinville (economics and public administration) and in Lages (chemistry and industrial engineering). Blumenau has a municipal university.

Santa Catarina's many lakes and ocean-front beaches make it a fisherman's heaven. For hunters, all sorts of wild game abound, including rabbit, squirrel, bobcat, puma, bear, raccoon, wild boar, and over 25 species of game birds. The western portion is ideal for overnight camping.

Salvador Da Bahia

Salvador Da Bahia, formerly Salvador, is Brazil's oldest city, located in one of the most historic parts of the country. The Portuguese first landed in Brazil at Pôrto Seguro in the southern part of the State of Bahia, and when they colonized the country, they built the city which is now Salvador da Bahia. It was Brazil's capital from 1549 to 1763.

Situated on a hilly peninsula at the entrance to All Saints' Bay (Bahia de Todos os Santos), it is a picturesque city famed for its many baroque churches, distinctive food, colorful costumes, and religious ceremonies. Although strong African influences are found in Bahia, the main cultural tradition is Western, influenced at first by Portugal, and more recently by France and the U.S.

Salvador da Bahia is one of Brazil's largest modern ports. Cocoa, tobacco, sugar, sisal, diamonds, iron ore, aluminum, hides, and petroleum are exported through Salvador da Bahia's port. The city has many important industries, among them textiles, ceramics, food and tobacco processing, automobiles, chemicals, and shipbuilding.

The metropolitan area has an estimated population of 2.4 million and is growing rapidly. Although this growth is accompanied by modern urban problems, the city retains much of its charm because of its privileged location by the bay and ocean, its varied topography, and its rich collection of historic buildings, many of which are registered and cannot be torn down.

Salvador da Bahia is divided into two partsthe "lower city" at sea level with the old port and commercial district; and the "upper city," reached by stone steps, and the site of government buildings, residential areas, museums, and churches. Some of the old and historically significant churches have been made into museums.

Schools for Foreigners

The Pan-American School of Bahia, with a student body of about 470, representing many nationalities, is partially sponsored by the U.S. Government. It offers an English-language curriculum from kindergarten through 12th grade. In 1991, the school had 50 full-time teachers, 25 of whom were Americans. Located 15 minutes from downtown Salvador da Bahia, the school consists of two buildings, 25 classrooms, a 35,000-volume library, two playing fields, two science labs, and a computer lab. In December 1977, Pan-American was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its program follows the U.S. educational system, and students have transferred easily into American schools and universities. Extracurricular activities include field trips, computers, year-book, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. The school address is: Caixa Postal 231, Salvador da Bahia 4000, Brazil.

Two universities in Bahia offer interesting courses, seminars, and lectures for those with a firm command of Portuguese. Many Americans study that language with private tutors or at the Binational Center.


Golf, tennis, sailing, swimming, and volleyball are the sports which normally attract members of the foreign community in Bahia. Skin diving, rock fishing, and deep-sea fishing are also available. Game in the area is scarce, but duck hunting is possible.

Many Americans join clubs which, in addition to offering sports facilities, provide a place to dine and relax on weekends. The Yacht Club, with a large freshwater pool, a boathouse, and restaurant/bar in attractive surroundings, makes available a temporary (four-month) membership. The Associação Atletica also offers a temporary (six-month) membership. Both the Bahia Tennis Club and the Cajazeira Golf Club provide either transferable or temporary memberships. The British Club, strictly a social organization, is the gathering place for the English-speaking community, and an English-language library is maintained there.

Salvador da Bahia and many nearby historic towns are good for sight-seeing. In the city itself, there is the excellent Museum of Sacred Art, considered the most beautiful in all of Brazil; it contains many works of Brazil's renowned baroque sculptor, Aleijadinho (Antônio Francisco Lisboa), known as "the little cripple." The visitor will also find numerous churches, forts, a small zoo, and many buildings of historical and architectural interest.

It is possible, by prior arrangement, to attend a condomble (voodoo religious ceremony). Photographs may not be taken at such ceremonies without specific permission.


Movies in English, with Portuguese subtitles, are shown in many theaters. A cultural society presents a series of musical recitals and concerts during the May-to-December season.

The few nightclubs, generally discotheques without live entertainment, compare in price to those in large cities of the U.S. Salvador da Bahia has many fine restaurants.

Local radio programs are good, and shortwave is usually satisfactory, but sets should be tropicalized and powerful because of the distances involved. Most people on extended assignments have stereo equipment for home entertainment, and they find that the humidity makes it necessary to use cartridges of variable inductance rather than the ceramic type. There are three television stations in the city. No adjustments are needed for reception on black-and-white American sets.

The closely knit international community in Salvador da Bahia consists mainly of Americans (executives from the private industrial sector and petrochemical complex, and petroleum industry workers), Scandinavians, Swedes, English, Germans, and Argentines. Most speak English and send their children to the Pan-American School. In several book clubs, English-speaking members collectively purchase and share publications. The International Women's Club is one of the city's active social and charitable organizations.

Foreigners participate actively in the city's normal social life. Bahians are friendly and welcome contact with foreigners, especially Americans. English-speaking business representatives meet each Wednesday for lunch at the Clube do Comércio.

Because of the interesting scenery and relaxed life in Salvador da Bahia, many prominent artists make their homes in the area, and are easily accessible to foreigners.

Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon), capital of Minas Gerais, is Brazil's third largest city, with a population of over 4 million. Minas Gerais is Brazil's second most important state economically, after São Paulo. It is a major center of mining, steel production, automobile (Fiat), electronics, heavy machinery, and agriculture.

Minas Gerais maintains a higher economic growth rate than the nation as a whole. The state's utilities are generally well run providing better than average services, for Brazil. However, investment in basic infrastructure, especially roads, has not kept pace with the state's economic growth. The effects of rapid economic growth of the past decades are evident in the proliferation of common urban problems, such as air pollution (especially severe during the dry season), a crowded downtown area, and slums. Nevertheless, the city is less crowded and congested than Rio or São Paulo, and seems much smaller than a city of 4 million.

Accelerated economic growth in the past few years has also brought an explosion in the cost of living in Belo Horizonte. Consumer prices and rents are comparable to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Officers stationed in Belo Horizonte do not receive tax-free gasoline privileges.

Belo Horizonte, founded in 1897, is spread out over a rolling terrain and many streets are steep. The cross-work of avenues, streets, and diagonals can be confusing to a newcomer. Belo Horizonte has few landmarks of historical significance. The most interesting features of the city include the Praça da Liberdade, the center for the state government; the Municipal Park with tree-shaded paths, a small recreation area for children, small lake, and the Lagoa da Pampulha area with a larger lake; and the Oscar Niem-eyer-designed São Francisco de Assis Church, with murals and frescoes by the internationally famed Brazilian painter, Portinari. Brazil's colonial past is illustrated by a series of beautifully preserved historical cities such as Ouro Preto and Sabara, within 2 hours' drive of the capital. The city has an active night life, with many bars, clubs, restaurants and music.

Belo Horizonte enjoys a warm and dry climate. Winters are mild and sunny, with few genuinely cold days. Summers (December-March) are warm with few spells of hot, muggy weather. Most precipitation occurs from November to February with intermittent rain, heavy at times, causing severe, dangerous flooding. The city is a junction for highways, connecting Rio de Janeiro (4-4-1/2 hours by car), São Paulo (8 hours), and Brasilia (10 hours). Highways are paved and in good condition, although overcrowded with trucks carrying mineral and steel products and agricultural goods. The city's streets are well kept generally, although the quality of pavement is poor in many areas. Most of the city is paved and has a clean look, although pollution is becoming a problem. Modern shopping centers are located in and around the city, offering many stores, including many international chains.

Two airports, Confins (60 min. downtown) and Pampulha (20-30 min.), provide frequent connections to Brasilia, São Paulo Rin de Janeiro and other cities


Food is available locally in adequate quantity and variety. Fresh meat is plentiful. Fruits and vegetables in season are plentiful. Canned goods, frozen foods, and a growing variety of packaged and convenience foods are available but expensive. The central market and neighborhood markets continue to be important sources of supply for fruit, vegetables, and meats. Large supermarkets carrying a wide variety of merchandise, in addition to food items, are available.


All types of temperate climate clothing are useful, including a limited number of woolens for occasionally chilly winter mornings, evenings, or when traveling in southern Brazil during winter. Styles for men and women are informal, but some business and social occasions call for business suits or formal wear. Brazilian women are style conscious and women coming to post may wish to vary their wardrobe after arrival according to local fashions. Various pants, blouses, and pant-suits will suffice for most occasions, with long dresses used only for formal social events.

Supplies and Services

Basic supplies are available locally. Officers stationed in Belo Horizonte should make arrangements to buy items available at the commissary in Brasilia.

Local tailors and dressmakers are adequate. Shoe repair is good. Laundry and dry cleaning services are good, but prices are high.

Local physicians, surgeons, and dentists can treat all but the most serious medical problems. Many have studied or done residencies in the U.S. and speak some English. The cost of medical services in Belo Horizonte is high. An office call currently costs about $70. You can obtain advanced and highly specialized medical services in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Pharmacies carry adequate stocks of Brazilian-produced prescription and nonprescription medicines.

Repair facilities for foreign automobiles, appliances, or electronic items are difficult to find. The reliability of repairs varies. Local carpenters and cabinetmakers are competent, but slow.

Good household help is difficult to find. Increased job opportunities for women in manufacturing industries and businesses have sharply reduced the number interested in domestic employment. Finding and keeping skilled and reliable help is a problem. Personal recommendations are the best way of finding help; employment agencies are not recommended.


American and English-speaking children attend the American School. Classes are from kindergarten through grade 12.

The Federal University of Minas Gerais and the Catholic University of Minas Gerais provide programs in most subject areas. Foreign students are few. The binational center and the Federal University offer Portuguese courses.


Free public recreation facilities are limited and crowded. These include the Municipal Park downtown, a zoo in the Pampulha area, Mangabeiras Park, and Minas Gerais and Fernão Dias Parks.

Many local residents join sports and social clubs and memberships cost $2,000 and up. Clubs offer swimming and tennis facilities. Monthly fees cost $200 and up. Fishing and boating are available on the San Francisco River, some 200 miles from the city. Spectator sports include professional soccer, basketball, and volleyball.


Several colonial cities famous for their baroque architecture and colorful settings are located in Minas Gerais State and are popular tourist attractions. Movie theaters often feature international films with Portuguese subtitles. The Palacio das Artes is home of the Minas Gerais Symphony Orchestra and sponsors performances by local and international musical and theatrical groups. A growing number of art galleries exhibit the works of local artists. The city has an active night life, with many bars, restaurants, nightclubs, concerts, and dancing. The small American community offers limited opportunities for social contact and activities. It consists of temporary residents working for American firms with local branches, missionaries, and permanent residents, including Americans settling in Minas Gerais after marrying Brazilians. A monthly picnic is held at the American School for all members of the community. The city has a small diplomatic community with consulates from Portugal, Argentina, Italy, and Chile.

Mineiros, as natives of the state are known, are friendly but reserved. Host country and other officials meet through business, commercial, fraternal organizations, country clubs, and artistic and cultural events. Family life centers in the home in Minas Gerais. However, once new acquaintances are established, families welcome friendly relationships in their homes.


Belém, a port city, lies about 1°S. of the equator. The ninth largest city in Brazil, it is the capital of the State of Pará. Belém is the economic and political center of the Amazon region. Its narrow streets, tile-fronted homes, random Victorian architecture, modern high-rise office and apartment buildings, and wide streets lined with mango trees bear testimony to Belém's rich and varied history. The city was founded in 1616 by the Portuguese as a base to protect their territorial holdings in what now is northern Brazil. Throughout its history, as now, Belém has served as the port of entry to the vast Amazon Basin, and port of exit for regional products. Products exported via Belém include Brazil nuts, cassava, jute, black pepper, and aluminum.

Some of Brazil's most beautiful old churches are in Belém, among them the Santo Alexandre, the Basílica da Nossa Senhora de Nazaré, and the 17th-century Mercês Church. The city's Catedral (cathedral) dates from 1748. Noteworthy among the modern structures is Teatro da Paz, one of the country's largest theaters, the public library, and archives building.

The city is 90 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, at the junction of the Guamá River and Guajara Bay, which form part of the southern estuary of the Amazon River system. High temperatures and relative humidity make the climate debilitating and, at times, exhausting, but moderate easterly winds bring some relief. Insect and animal pests flourish.

About 25 percent of the city's estimated population of 1.5 million is of European descent, mostly Portuguese. The remainder is either of Indian or mixed racial origin. The foreign community includes some 25,000 Portuguese, 10,000 Japanese, and several hundred English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Lebanese, and Eastern Europeans. About 1,000 Americans live in and around Belém, and another 1,500 are scattered throughout the district.

A modern airport, which is one of Brazil's largest, is maintained in Belém.


Manaus (formerly spelled Manáos) is the capital of Amazonas State and the major city of the Amazon Basin, standing near the confluence of the Amazon and the Río Negro. The rubber boom of the late 19th century effected temporary prosperity, but the decline in that industry left the city to shrink in influence until a renewed interest in the Amazon Basin brought economic growth. Approximately 615,000 people now live in Manaus. It is the major port of northwestern Brazil, and its floating docks can accommodate oceangoing vessels. Brazil nuts, rubber, rosewood oil, and several forest products constitute Manaus' primary exports. Several industries make their home in Manaus, including ship building, soap manufacturing, brewing, petroleum refining, and chemical production. An international airport has been built, and coexists with the British-built customs house, the Portuguese town-houses, and the lavish Opera House, where Sarah Bernhardt once sang.

Manaus features a cathedral, zoological and botanical gardens, and the Museu Indígena Salesiano, which is dedicated to the region's Indian cultures. The tourist office is at Praça 24 de Outubro, Rua Taruma 329, and there are information kiosks at the airport and at the floating docks. Most banks in the city will change foreign currency only in the morning, but money can be exchanged at Selvatour in the Hotel Amazónas. One-and two-day river trips up the Río Negro from Manaus are readily available, and considered worthwhile excursions; it is possible to stop along the river banks to explore the fringes of the forest or to canoe in the clear lakes of the interior.


Fortaleza (Portuguese for fortress), a city with an estimated population of 2.8 million residents, is the capital of the State of Cearáin northeastern Brazil. The city (often referred to as Ceará, the state designation, by foreigners) served as a center for the sugar plantations in colonial times and, today, processes sugar and cotton, and ships exotic products such as carnauba wax and oiticica oil. Fortaleza is also known for traditional handicrafts, especially lace-making.

The Dutch occupied Fortaleza in the mid-17th century, and Nossa Senhora da Assuncão, a fort built by them, still stands. Excellent seafood is brought to the nearby beaches by the fishermen in their hand-crafted vessels each day at about sundown, and the lobsters here are considered particular delicacies. The 1,393-acre Ubajará National Park, featuring caves of the same name, is close by. Fortaleza's tourist office is located at Rua Senador Pompeu 250, and there is a branch in the old prison.


Curitiba, a rapidly growing city of more than 1.4 million residents, is a commercial and processing center, and also the capital, of the southeastern State of Paraná. It was founded in 1654, but developed slowly until the influx of German, Italian, and Slavic immigrants in the early part of the 20th century. The metropolitan area now accommodates well over one million residents.

During the past 30 years, Curitiba has seen swift expansion and modernization. New housing and public buildings have sprung up both in the central city and the burgeoning suburbs, yet the city has not succumbed to the clutter and confusion which often accompanies urban growth. Beautiful, wide avenues and vast expanses of park land remain, bestowing an aura of tranquility seldom found in a modern setting.

Curitiba is home to several industries which manufacture textiles, automobiles, furniture, matches, tobacco, soft drinks, lumber, and tea. Tourist attractions in the city include the Paranáense Museum and an Egyptian-style temple located near Lake Bacacheri.

Two institutes of higher learning are located hereFederal University of Paraná, dating from 1912, and Catholic University, which opened in 1959. Curitiba also is the site of the State Library. The International School of Curitiba, which follows a U.S. curriculum and employs six American teachers, is in a suburb overlooking the city.


Goiânia, capital of the State of Goiás and its largest city, is about two-and-a-half hours west of Brasilia. Like Brasilia, it is a planned city, and was built in 1933 to replace the old city of Goiás as the state capital. With an altitude much lower than Brasilia's, it is usually considerably warmer and more humid. Goiânia is an attractive city with tree-lined streets, attractive parks, interesting 1930s architecture, a shopping center, good hotels, and some excellent restaurants. It also has fine museums and art galleries, and a good urban transportation system. The Sunday fair is one of the best in the area.

Goiânia's population has grown to over 702,000. The city is a shipping and processing center for livestock, crops, and minerals. It is the seat of two schools of higher learning, Federal and Catholic universities, as well as several technical institutes. The city is accessible by air, road, and railway.


The city of ANÁPOLIS , in the State of Goiás, is situated in central Brazil, 82 miles south of the capital. Lumber, rice, coffee, and livestock are processed in this industrial center. Anápolis distributes diamonds, gold, maize, and rubber by rail. A highway and an airport are located nearby. Its population is about 161,000.

ARACAJU is the capital city of Sergipe State in northeastern Brazil. It is near the mouth of the Sergipe River and has an excellent harbor. As the state's commercial hub, it ships cotton, sugar, hides, and rice. The city has several industries which process salt, cotton, sugar, beans, bananas, cashews, and leather. Several roads and airports link Aracaju to Recife, Maceió, and Salvador da Bahia. Aracaju's population is about 289,000.

CAMPINA GRANDE is situated in northeastern Brazil in the State of Paraíba. Since Campina Grande is located in a cotton-growing region, most of its industries are mainly based on that product. Other factories in the city manufacture metallurgical products, pharmaceuticals, and plastics. It also produces sugarcane, fruit, vegetables, and tobacco. The city is the home of an art museum and a regional university. Road, river, air, and rail transportation is available to Recife, João Pessoa and several other cities. The population of Campina Grande is about 222,000.

Located in the State of São Paulo, CAMPINAS is about 57 miles northwest of the city of São Paulo. At one time, Campinas was Brazil's top coffee producer. Today, its industries include the processing of cereals, cotton, and sugarcane as well as coffee. Cosmetics, soap, textiles, motorcycles and agricultural machinery are also produced. Campinas has a symphony orchestra, as well as theaters, museums, and art galleries. A tourist attraction near Campinas is the Salto d'Ita Falls, located five miles north of the city. There are two universities here. The city's population is approximately 567,000.

CAMPO GRANDE , in southwestern Brazil, is the fastest-growing city in the State of Mato Grosso. Industries include tanneries, meat-packing plants, and slaughterhouses. Coffee, corn, rice, and beans are grown in areas surrounding the city. The railroads and airways in Campo Grande are an essential means of transportation for the surrounding region. Campo Grande's population of 282,800 is the largest in Mato Grosso.

CAXIAS DO SUL (formerly called Caxias) is an Italian immigrant settlement in the State of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. Regional farming supports the city's industries which include cattle-raising, wine making, and hog slaughtering. The city's population is close to 199,000.

CORUMBÁ , a small southwestern port city of approximately 66,000 residents on the Río Paraguai, is the chief trade center for Mato Grosso State. Visitors often take boat trips north from here through the Pantanal, a vast wildlife preserve. Other attractions are the regional museum, and the arts and crafts center at the old jail. Corumbá, a junction on the railroad connecting Brazil and Bolivia, was a key strategic point in the War of the Triple Alliance (1865), and changed hands often. Factories in the city process xarque (dried beef) and animal hides.

FLORIANÓPOLIS is located on Santa Catarina Island, off the coast of southeastern Brazil, and is connected to the mainland by two spans, the oldest of which is the handsome and historical Hercílio Luz Bridge. The city has spilled over onto the Estreito strip of the mainland, and the total population is estimated at 154,000. The city produces a number of products including pharmaceuticals, communications equipment, perfume, and plastics. Now a bustling commercial center and the capital of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis' colonial houses still stand along the narrow streets of the city's older section. An anthropology museum at Federal University is worth visiting, and excellent beaches have made the area popular with tourists. The city, named for an early Brazilian president, Floriano Peixoto, was once known as Destêrro. It is linked by excellent roads with the coastal cities of Pôrto Alegre and Curitiba. Flights are available from Florianópolis to Rio de Janeiro, Pôrto Alegre, and São Paulo.

Located in northeastern Brazil, JOÃO PESSOA is the capital of Paraíba State. Founded in 1585, João Pessoa today supplies cement, clothing, beverages, and cigars locally. One of its better-known historical buildings is the 18th-century Church of São Francisco. The church still has its original wooden grilles, entrance, and decorative towers and domes. The city manufactures chemicals, metals, plastics, and electrical products. The city is the home of Paraíba University. João Pessoa's population is close to 290,250.

JUIZ DE FORA is 80 miles north of Rio de Janeiro in the southeastern State of Minas Gerais. The city, with an estimated population of 300,000, is an important manufacturer of knitwear. Many crops are grown near Juiz de Fora, among them bananas, sugarcane, coffee, and rice. Textiles and plastics are also manufactured here. A major tourist attraction is the Mariano Procopio museum. In 1960, the Federal University of Juiz de Fora was opened here.

Situated 125 miles southwest of Recife, in northeastern Brazil, MACEIÓ is the capital of Alagoas State. An industrial city, Maceió produces household items, cotton textiles, chemicals, cigarettes, sugar, and foods. Exports include tobacco, cotton, rum, and sugar. Reflecting its colonial background, the city's landmarks include a lighthouse in the center of the city the Church of Bom Jesus dos Mártires, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Government Palace. Maceió is linked with Recife and cities to the north by road and rail. The population here is about 375,700.

NATAL , with a population of close to 376,500, is situated in northeastern Brazil. It is the capital of Rio Grande do Norte State. A major port, it ships hides, salt, cotton, and sugar. Important industries include salt refining and cotton spinning and weaving. The city was founded on December 25, 1599; "natal" means "Christmas" in Portuguese. The coastline has nice beaches and a folk museum housed in a 16th-century fort. Railroads and highways extend from Natal to the interior and to coastal urban centers. Flights are available to the cities of Recife and Teresina.

Located on the Atlantic coast in Pernambuco State, OLINDA is about 60 miles south of Natal and about 50 miles north of Maceió. Less than four miles from Recife, Olinda is one of the major architectural centers of Brazil. The narrow, steep streets here are flanked by beautiful churches and centuries-old houses. A large colony of artists in the city produce wood carvings and pottery. The colorful Moorish fountains give an added dimension to this historic town of 267,000 residents.

OURO PRÊTO , located in the mountains of eastern Brazil, was founded during the gold rush at the turn of the 18th century, and became a prosperous mining town in the following decades. Since 1933, the city has been considered a national museum, and bears the designation, "world monument," an honor bestowed by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The city's colonial-era houses, churches, and public buildings have been preserved and restored. On June 24 of each year, it becomes the capital of Minas Gerais State for one day (it was superseded by Belo Horizonte in 1897). The 18th-century atmosphere of twisting streets, and the old houses and churches of the town have been preserved. At the churches of Sáo Francisco and Carmo, one may view the baroque sculpture of Aleijadinho, the "little cripple." The museum of the Inconfidencia, housed in a large colonial penitentiary, is dedicated to the history of gold mining and culture in Minas Gerais. For those interested in mineralogy, a museum at the old colonial governor's palace contains a beautiful collection of minerals native to Brazil. The still-operating gold mines three miles north of town are of interest. The tourist office at Praça Tiradentes 41 features films about Ouro Prêto several times daily. Maps in English are available at the Luxor Hotel. The population here is about 27,900.

Once the coffee capital of Brazil, RIBEIRÃO PRÊTO is located in southeastern Brazil in São Paulo State. It was founded in 1856 and has over 300,000 residents. Several crops are grown near the city, among them corn, rice, cotton, sugar, and fruits. Cottonseed oil, beer, and textiles are manufactured in Ribeirão Prêto. The city is accessible by road, air, and rail from São Paulo.

SANTOS , a city of approximately 416,000 in São Paulo State, is the world's largest coffee-exporting port, and one of the principal ports of Brazil. Settled in 1543, it is situated on the island of São Vicente, near the town of the same name, which was the first permanent Portuguese settlement in the New World (1532). Several factories are located in the city. These factories produce soap, soft drinks, cement, and candy. Santos' energy needs are met by a large hydroelectric plant and the petroleum refinery at Cubatão. Santos' humid climate and marshy terrain once made living conditions difficult, but new housing, drainage canals, and updated sanitation facilities have dramatically improved the city. Santos, with its fine beaches and seaside facilities (particularly at suburban Guarujá), is a fashionable residential and resort area.


Geography and Climate

Brazil, with a land area of 3.3 million square miles, is larger than the continental U.S. It extends from the Amazonian equatorial plains at latitude 4°N. to cool uplands at 30°S., where frost often occurs. It borders all South American countries except Chile and Ecuador and, to the east, the coastline runs along the Atlantic Ocean for 4,600 miles.

The vast regions of the Amazon and La Plata River basins occupy about three-fifths of the total area. The huge plateau, rising from l, 000 to 3,000 feet above sea level in São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul, is the country's main physical feature. This is crossed by two mountain ranges; the highest, at 9,823 feet, is near Rio de Janeiro. A second mountain system, in central Brazil, has an eastern range with a maximum altitude of 4,206 feet, and a western peak of 4,500 feet near the city of Goiânia. Because of its great plains and basins, 40 percent of the country has an average altitude of only 650 feet.

Although Brazil is immense in size and varies in topography from the sweeping sea-level Amazon basin south to the mountains of São Paulo and Pôrto Alegre, the temperature range is narrow. The seasons are the reverse of those in the U.S., with summer from December to February. The rainy season usually extends from October to March.


Brazil's population of roughly 160 million is composed of four major groups: indigenous. Indians, the Portuguese, Africans brought to Brazil as slaves, and various. European and Asian immigrant groups. The Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil in 1500, and the country was subsequently colonized by the Portuguese. A strong African influence exists in the northeast, the legacy of slaves brought to Brazil. The population in the southern half of the country reflects various waves of immigration, with many Brazilians of German and Italian descent in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. A large Japanese population is concentrated in the agricultural and industrial area around São Paulo, and Brazil also has a significant population of Arab descent. Travelers to Brazil will note a distinct atmosphere and population in each region-the result of the wide diversity in Brazil's ethnic composition.

Brazilians are warm and friendly people eager to know foreigners and their habits and customs. In large cities, many Brazilians speak some English, but appreciate Americans who speak Portuguese. A knowledge of the language is necessary to understand and enjoy the people and their intriguing culture.

Some 90% of the population live in the central plateau and the narrow coastal plain along the Atlantic. The tropical Amazon River basin, comprising almost half of Brazil's total area, is sparsely settled. The Trans-Amazonian Highway Project, as well as several large development projects such as Carajas, are aimed at developing the local economy and encouraging migration into the less populated regions of northern Brazil.

Almost every religion is represented in Brazil, but Roman Catholics are predominant (89%). Animism is widespread and is practiced alongside Catholicism. Religious freedom and separation of church and state prevail.

Public Institutions

Brazil is a constitutional federal republic with broad powers granted to the federal government. The 1988 constitution establishes, at the national level, a presidential system with three branches-executive, legislative, and judicial. Brazilians reelected President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and his vice-presi-dent, Marco Maciel, to second four-year terms beginning January 1, 1999. This marked the fourth direct election for Congress, governorships and the President.

The bicameral national Congress consists of 81 senators (three from each state and the Federal District) elected to eight-year terms, and 513 federal deputies elected at large in each state to four year terms, based on a complex proportional representation system, weighted in favor of less populous states. The apex of the judicial system is the Supreme Federal Tribunal, whose 11 justices are appointed by the president to serve until age 70.

Brazil is divided administratively into 27 states and a federal district, which includes the capital, Brasíia. The structure of state and local governments closely parallels that of the federal government. Governors are elected for four year terms. A federal revenue-sharing system, in place since the 1988 constitution, provides states with considerable resources.

Arts, Science, and Education

Brazil's tremendous ethnic and regional diversity makes for a vibrant and varied cultural scene. São Paulo and Rio audiences enjoy a constant menu of outstanding national music and art events, and a steady diet of top international fare as well. Brasíia and Recife are less tied into the international circuit, but local and national cultural options are regularly available.

Brazil's federal and state higher education institutions include some of the finest in Latin America, a product of heavy government investment in graduate-level programs and university research capacity since the 1960s. Of the 68 major universities in Brazil, 35 are federal, 20 are private or church-related, two are municipal and 11 are state supported. Every state but one (Tocantins) and the Federal District of Brasíia has one or more federal universities, all of which operate directly under the Ministry of Education. In many states there are also one or more state universities and one or more Catholic universities. In addition to the universities, there are approximately 800 other degree-granting colleges and institutions of higher education in such areas as engineering, medicine, agriculture, law, economics and business administration. While bloated payrolls and an innovation-stifling bureaucracy have come to pose a serious challenge to the health and quality of the system, a number of reforms stressing greater teacher and student performance based accountability and more streamlined budgetary processes promise to address many concerns.

The Cardoso Administration recognizes that to be competitive in today's more open and service-driven economy places greater demands on workforce education at all levels, and resources are being shifted to the long-neglected primary and secondary levels. Both access and quality are showing improvement. Although eight years of schooling have been legally compulsory since 1973, 1992 figures revealed that the average Brazilian worker had fewer than five years of formal education. That figure is expected to be closer to seven years in 1998 figures, and the sharply upward trend is likely to continue based on much better retention rates in primary schools over the past four years and surging enrollment rates in secondary schools.

During the 70s and 80s, the poor quality of public schools prompted almost all Brazilian middle-and upper-class families to send their children to private or church-affiliated schools. Those children were then better prepared to pass the difficult entry exams for the public universities, creating a paradox in which the less affluent Brazilians were the least able to benefit from the free public universities. Today that trend is showing some signs of softening as quality improvements and economic pressures lead an increasing number of middle-class families to opt again for public schools.

Commerce and Industry

Brazil's gross domestic product (GDP) of US$800 billion in 1998 makes it the world's ninth largest economy. Brazil's population of 160 million makes it the fourth most populous country, and its territory is the fifth largest. Rich resources make Brazil a country of tremendous potential. Per capita income averages US$5,000, with sharp disparities; in general, the south and southeast are more prosperous, while the northeast is much poorer.

Brazil's economy is highly diversified both agriculturally and industrially. Brazil is a major exporter of manufactured products (73 percent of total exports). It is the world's largest exporter of coffee and orange juice concentrate and a major exporter of soybeans, sugar, cocoa, meat and cotton. Mining is also important, particularly iron ore production.

After many years of high inflation, Brazil achieved its most sustained period of stability, beginning in July 1994 with the introduction of a new currency, the real (plural is reais; abbreviation is R$). This stabilization plan was developed when current President Fernando Henrique Cardoso was Finance Minister (May 1993-April 1994). The inflation rate, which had reached 50 percent per month by June 1994, declined to less than two percent per month throughout 1995. Inflation came down as a result of a strongly valued currency bolstered by very high real interest rates.

In order to consolidate the stabilization program, attract more long-term investment, and put Brazil on the path to long-term sustainable growth, the government must implement wide-ranging structural reforms. Over the years, Brazil has built a cumbersome government-dominated economy that has benefited a few special interests at the expense of the overall society. Many of the necessary reforms require amendment of Brazil's 1988 Constitution. The Congress passed in 1995 five reforms opening the economy to greater investment by the private sector, including foreign investors. Since then some US$80 billion of mostly federally owned assets have been privatized with another US$20 billion of state and local enterprises set for the auction block in 1999.

The GOB has been engaged in a multifaceted program to stabilize its economy in the face of a global financial crisis which began in Asia in late 1997 and was further aggravated with Russia's default and the devaluation of its currency in September 1998. Brazil's vulnerability was its high fiscal deficit. To address this, the Brazilian government has cut spending modestly while simultaneously raising taxes. In early 1999, it abandoned its foreign exchange policy which had closely bound the real to the dollar in a "crawling peg," embracing, instead, a floating exchange.

There was strong consensus that the real has been overvalued for some time. The result was a nearly 50 percent devaluation against the dollar in its first month. To further address the fundamental causes of fiscal deficit, Brazil continues to make structural reforms, primarily in the area of social security and public sector retirement programs. Other reforms currently under consideration include an overhaul of its tax system, labor reform, and political reform to strengthen party organization and discipline.



Parts for cars not produced in Brazil must be ordered from abroad. Few mechanics are trained for repair of imported vehicles. Brazil manufactures gasoline, alcohol, and some service-type, diesel-powered vehicles. Gasoline available is only a 72-octane gasohol mixture. Nearly all gasoline sold in Brazil contains up to 25% anhydrous alcohol. Non-Brazilian-manufactured vehicles run well on the local gasohol. But low-compression engines, either imported or produced locally, are recommended. The gasoline is non-leaded and therefore it is not necessary to remove the catalytic converter.

Ford, Chevrolet, Fiat and VW manufacture full lines of vehicles in Brazil. Most models are based on the companies' European models, but a few are similar to models sold in the U.S. Toyota, Honda and Renault manufacture a limited selection of models in Brazil. Brazilians overwhelmingly prefer vehicles with manual transmissions; automatic transmission is available on a few models, though not all. Used cars are readily available.

The number of imported cars in Brazil is increasing, and dealers are improving service and parts availability. However, it would still be prudent to bring a shop/repair manual and some make/model specific spare parts. There are several competent mechanics in town.

All POVs must carry mandatory and third-party insurance. The mandatory insurance covers personal medical expenses resulting from an accident and costs about R$60 a year. The third-party insurance may be obtained from a Brazilian or a U.S. firm. The minimum required coverage is $400,000 for property damage and $400,000 for personal injury or death. Insurance should include coverage for all persons who may, with permission, operate the vehicle.

The Brazilian Transit Department (DETRAN) issues Brazilian drivers licenses. Those without a valid U.S. or other foreign license are required to have an eye exam. Only eligible family members (EFMs) 18 years old or older are eligible to obtain a Brazilian license.

Brasíia: Taxis are available and offer adequate transportation, particularly for short runs. They are, however, expensive. Municipal governments set metered taxi rates, with higher rates being charged after 11 p.m. on weekends and holidays. All cabs have red license plates with white numbers. Tips are not required, but 10% of the metered fare is appropriate for excellent service.

Bus transportation passes through the center of the city, as well as on other major thoroughfares and is good. Bus service is also available to Brasíia's many satellite cities.

Rio de Janeiro: Many metered taxis are available at reasonable prices, depending on the distance to be traveled. Radio controlled taxis which can be requested by phone are also available. Drivers have a reputation for being reckless. The Security Office advises personnel to avoid riding public buses because of the high incidence of theft. The Metro is also another form of transportation from Copacabana to downtown. The Metro is reasonably priced at R$1.00 each way. Air conditioned buses are widely available and the price ranges from R$3.00 to R$5.00. The air-conditioned buses are generally safer than the public buses. Public bus price is R$.70 each way if you choose to take this route of transportation.

São Paulo: Metered taxis are available at reasonable prices.

Recife: Recife's extensive bus system is efficient and inexpensive. Taxis are abundant and inexpensive. Although we recommend against their use, inexpensive gypsy cab vans ply regular routes.

Belo Horizonte: The rapid growth of this city has overburdened the city's transportation system. Bus lines are extensive and inexpensive, but some knowledge of the city is required. The bus system is chaotic, with most lines ending in the downtown area requiring a change of bus for cross town trips. Although economical, city buses are overcrowded and offer only minimal comfort.

Taxis are plentiful and can be found at stands situated throughout the downtown and principal residential areas. Taxi fares are moderate. Trips to outlying areas require a fare supplement. Taxi companies provide radio-controlled service.

Crowded traffic conditions and a limited number of parking spaces in the downtown and adjacent commercial areas of the city make the use of private cars impractical at times. Trips to this area during business hours are best taken on foot or by taxi.


Direct international air service is available to and from the U.S., Africa, and Europe. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are the primary entry airports for U.S. flag carriers. However, some international flights terminate in Manaus, Belem, Recife, Brasíia, Belo Horizonte, and other Brazilian cities. Intracountry connections to Brazil's major cities by national airlines are excellent, but airfares are high. Air transportation to and from Belo Horizonte is excellent, as the city is served by all four Brazilian commercial air carriers and American and United Airlines. Air transportation to and from Porto Alegre is also excellent, although most destinations require an intervening stop in Rio or Sdo Paulo.

Bus transportation between cities is inexpensive and widely used. Some of the longer routes have air-conditioned buses with sleeper chairs (leito), coffee service, and toilets. Most intracity buses are not air conditioned and are crowded during rush hours, but run frequently and are inexpensive. Metro service operates in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

The highway system in southeastern Brazil and as far north as Salvador is good. Brasíia is connected directly to Foz do Iguacu, Belem, Goidnia, and to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Gas stations, restaurants, and hotel accommodations are scarce on some highways.

The Amazon and Plata Rivers with their tributaries provide 25,600 miles of navigable rivers. Regular water transportation is available from Rio de Janeiro south to Buenos Aires and up the Amazon to Iquitos on the Peruvian border. You can obtain information in Belem on ships traveling up the Amazon.


Telephone and Telegraph

Brazil's telephone service is good. Local rates are higher than in the U.S., however. Reception on incoming international calls is excellent; for outgoing calls reception varies considerably. Direct dialing is available internationally and throughout Brazil. A telephone calling card from a major carrier (AT&T, Sprint, MCI, etc.) is quite useful. Cellular phone service is Brazil is popular.


Registered mail service is available at Rio de Janeiro only.

Radio and TV

Brazil has some 3,000 radio stations and more than 400 television stations. For most Brazilians, TV and radio act as the principal source of news, sports and entertainment. TV Globo, with 107 stations, is known throughout the world for its telenovelas (soap operas), which bring Brazilian stories to TV fans throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Unlike the U.S. standard NTSC system, Brazil television is broadcast with the PALM system. A U.S.-purchased NTSC set can receive the PAL-M signal, but only in black and white. NTSC-PAL-M converters that will allow you to use your NTSC set and receive the normal color transmission are available in large cities for prices that range between $60 and $100. Multisystem TVs are available in Brazil, as well; as of February 1999, a 29-inch SONY multisystem set was selling for about $600.

While Brazil's commercial and public networks provide an ample selection of Portuguese-language news, talk shows, soap operas, sports and variety programs, most expatriates also subscribe to one of the cable systems. Since the launch of cable service in 1993, it has grown rapidly, with projections to reach an estimated 6 million subscribers in the year 2000. The major companies are Globo's NET, TVA/Abril and Direct TV Monthly fees range from about $25 to $40, depending on the package selected. CNN, ESPN, HBO, Cartoon Network, Discovery Kids and similar cable fare are available via all three systems.

Video rental outlets, including U.S. giant Blockbuster, are common throughout Brazil. American-made films for children are generally dubbed into Portuguese; those for adults generally carry subtitles. Video rental prices range from $1 to $3 at February 1999 exchange rates.

Radio fare runs the gamut from MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) and Bossa Nova to Motown and classical music. U.S. music fans can easily identify several stations that focus on music from back home, and Portuguese-speaking news hounds will find a growing selection of all-news or mostly-news formats. The Brazilian Government continues to require all commercial broadcasters to air the government-run Radiobras news program from 7 to 8 p.m. During election time, the public air-waves are also dedicated to a couple of hours a day of free campaign spots for candidates.

Internet use has grown rapidly in Brazil. An estimated 3.5 million Brazilians will be surfing the net by the year 2000, and Brazilian web sites are proliferating daily. Those who would like to practice their Portuguese from the U.S. can start by accessing dozens of Brazilian newspapers via or listen to Brazilian radio stations via the Internet at

Internet providers are multiplying throughout the country, and prices have become more competitive over the past couple of years. You can expect to pay $20 to $35 for monthly service, depending on the amount of usage and your location. AOL is coming into Brazil shortly, so the U.S. standby will also be an option. Phone lines have historically been the limiting factor with Internet service, as 56k modems were wasted on bad lines. With the privatization of phone companies throughout Brazil, the future looks brighter (and faster).

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

Brazilian newsstands are jammed with an array of newspaper and magazines, ranging from the serious to the frivolous. Major dailies such as Folha de São Paulo, Jornal do Brasil, O Estado de São Paulo, and O Globo are great sources for information about Brazilian politics, society and culture. They and many smaller, regional newspapers can be accessed on-line via Veja, the most widely circulated weekly magazine in Brazil, offers both newcomers and veterans an excellent overview of the country.

International newspapers such as the International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald and The New York Times are available at major newsstands, but the news will be at least a day-and sometimes a week-old. Single editions sell for the equivalent of USD 2.50 to USD 4.00, and subscriptions are available.

Latin American editions of Time and Newsweek, which focus more on international events and issues, are available both at newsstands and via subscription. National bookstore chains such as Saraiva and Livraria Siciliano carry a selection of English-language paperbacks alongside their Brazilian titles, but prices tend to be significantly higher than what readers can find via or other U.S. providers.

Internet Support: Computers and associated hardware are more expensive in Brazil than in the U.S. Parts for personal computers made by international vendors (Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, etc.) are usually available. Qualified repair personnel can be difficult to find. Be sure to bring power and telephone line protection for computer equipment.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Most of the pharmaceuticals used in the United States are available in the Brazilian post cities. In some cases the identical brand name medication is marketed locally. However, in some instances, the quality or availability of locally marketed medication is suboptimal.

The testing of blood products for transfusion purposes in Brazil has improved considerably over the past several years and blood supplies are considered safe.

Brasíia: There are several very adequate hospitals available and the level of competence and technical sophistication among the local health care providers is very good. Dental, orthodontic, and prosthodontic care is available and of good quality. Supplies of medications are good. There is an abundance of specialist consultant physicians available, many of whom are English speaking and have had training in the United States.

Rio de Janeiro: As in Brasíia, there are inspected and satisfactory hospitals, well trained specialist physicians, and other medical support services are readily available. Likewise, dental, orthodontic, and prosthodontic care is available and of good quality. Supplies of medications are good.

São Paulo: São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and as such has a very sophisticated and excellent medical infrastructure.

Community Health

Bottled water, available on a post-reimbursable basis, is recommended for direct consumption, at all locations. Municipality supplied water is treated and considered acceptable for bathing, laundering, and cooking. Fluoride content is variable and not directly added to bottled water and so fluoride supplementation is advised, for children under the age of twelve.

Food inspection and cleanliness of marketed meats and produce is very variable. Fruits and vegetables that are eaten uncooked and or unpeeled should be thoroughly washed and soaked in a disinfecting solution prior to consumption. Meats should be cooked thoroughly. Adequate pasteurization of dairy products is much improved but still variable and "long life" milk is recommended. Likewise, restaurant inspection is less enforced than in the United States. It is advisable to keep this constantly in mind and use discretion in ordering choices, and particularly to be careful with buffet type presentations in regard to freshness and adequacy of food chilling.

Several insect borne diseases are a problem in different areas of Brazil. In the Amazon and Northern regions malaria and Chagas disease are endemic. Dengue fever, a mosquito-transmitted viral illness, is becoming more disseminated throughout the country. To date, Brasíia and São Paulo are still considered nonendemic cities. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever. The malaria in Brazil is considered chloroquine resistant. As important, is to make provision for avoidance of mosquito bites by means of protective clothing, bed netting, and insect repellents. Schistosomiasis, a tissue-invasive worm infestation, is present throughout the countryside. The parasite is transmitted by a microscopic water dwelling larval form, which can invade through the skin unnoticed. Bathing in lakes and river pools is inadvisable because of this organism.

Viral hepatitis, both A and B types, is a significant danger in Brazil and immunization for both is strongly recommended. Tuberculosis is a widespread illness in the country and biannual skin testing for the disease is appropriate. The incidence of HIV AIDS is rapidly increasing in Brazil. Appropriate protective measures and diligent awareness of the problem are essential. Education of potentially at-risk individuals is well advised.

Rabies is present in the country, but not in sufficient intensity to warrant universal immunization for individuals. Pets accompanying the employee should be current in rabies vaccination. Environmental hazards include heat prostration, air pollution in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, dehydration during the dry season (May-October) particularly in Brasíia, and sun exposure-related skin problems. Liberal use of sun screens lotions/creams while outdoors along with wearing protective clothing and headgear is a good habit to develop.

Preventive Measures

You should be immunized against yellow fever. Likewise, immunization against polio, typhoid fever, tetanus, diphtheria, and hepatitis A and B should be current for those coming to Brazil. Due to Brasíia's elevation and proximity to the equator, the sun's ultraviolet rays are more intense and hence more dangerous to skin exposed to the sun. It is important to protect against this hazard with clothing, hats, and sunscreen application.

Persons with ongoing health problems requiring medication or medical appliances and equipment should bring several months' supply of the prescribed drugs along with them. If you use corrective lenses, bring an extra pair of glasses as well as the lens prescription with you, the same applies to contact lenses. The local supply of these items is actually quite adequate, but some delay may be involved in the replacement process.


Passage, Customs & Duties

Direct Delta, United, and American flights to Brazil are available from New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Usual ports of entry are Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

A passport and visa are required for Americans traveling to Brazil for any purpose. Brazilian visas must be obtained in advance from the Brazilian Embassy or consulate nearest to the traveler's place of residence. There are no "airport visas," and immigration authorities will refuse entry to Brazil to anyone not possessing a valid visa. All Brazilian visas, regardless of validity, are considered invalid if not used within 90 days of the issuance date. Immigration authorities will not allow entry into Brazil without a valid visa. Minors (under 10) traveling alone, with one parent or with a third party, must present written authorization by the absent parent(s) or legal guardian, specifically granting permission to travel alone, with one parent or with a third party. This authorization must be notarized, authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate, and translated into Portuguese. For current entry and customs requirements for Brazil, travelers may contact the Brazilian Embassy at 3009 Whitehaven St. N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008; telephone (202) 238-2818, e-mail [email protected].; Internet: Travelers may also contact the Brazilian consulates in Boston, Houston, Miami, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Addresses, phone numbers, web and e-mail addresses, and jurisdictions of these consulates may be found at the Brazilian Embassy web site above.

Americans living in or visiting Brazil are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Brazil and obtain updated information on travel and security within Brazil. The U.S. Embassy is located in Brasilia at Avenida das Nacoes, Lote 3, telephone 011-55-61-321-7272, after-hours telephone 011-55-61-321-8230; web site at http// Consular Section public hours are 8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon and 1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday except Brazilian and American holidays. There are consulates in the following cities:

Recife: Rua Goncalves Maia 163, telephone 011-55-81-3421-2441, after-hours telephone 011-55-3421-2641; web site at Consular Section public hours are 8:00am-12noon and 1:00pm-4:00pm Monday through Friday except Brazilian and American holidays.

Rio de Janeiro: Avenida Presidente Wilson 147, telephone 011-55-21-2292-7117, after-hours 011-55-21-2220-0489; web site at Consular Section public hours are 8:30am-11:00am and 1:00pm-3:00pm, Monday through Friday except Brazilian and American holidays.

Sao Paulo: Rua Padre Joao Manoel 933, telephone 011-55-11-3081-6511, after-hours telephone 011-55-113064-6355; web site at Consular Section public hours are 8:30am-11:00am, Monday through Friday and 2:00pm-3:30pm Monday, Wednesday, and Friday except Brazilian and American holidays.

There are Consular Agencies in:

Belem: Rua Oswaldo Cruz 165; telephone 011-55-91-242-7815.

Manaus: Rua Recife 1010, Adrianopolis; telephone 011-55-92-633-4907.

Salvador da Bahia: Rua Pernambuco, 51, Pituba; telephone 011-55-71-345-1545 and 011-55-71-345-1548.

Forteleza: The Instituto Cultural Brasil-Estados Unidos (IBEU), Rua Nogueira Acioly 891, Aldeota; telephone 011-55-85-252-1539.

Porto Alegre: The Instituto Cultural Brasil-Norteamericano, Rua Riachuelo, 1257, Centro; telephone 011-55-512-225-2255.


Dogs and cats are required to have the following documentation before their arrival: (1) certificate of vaccination against rabies, and (2) a U.S. public health certificate issued within 30 days of departure and validated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Veterinarians are familiar with this procedure.

The same procedure is followed for pets coming from outside the U.S., i.e., a public health certificate from the country where the pet is located.

Firearms and Ammunition

The importation of personal firearms is to be for sporting purposes only. Those wishing to import a personal firearm into Brazil or purchase one locally should be aware of the following restrictions: There are restrictions on the number and caliber of weapons that can be imported or purchased locally. All personal firearms must be legally registered with the Brazilian Government. The focal point for all matters pertaining to personal firearms is the regional security office in Brasilia. All questions pertaining to personal firearms should be directed to that office. A written request which includes the make, model, serial number, and a copy of the original sales receipt must be forwarded to that office a minimum of 120 days prior to the intended date for shipping personal firearms.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

The currency of Brazil is the real. The rate of exchange is determined by market forces and varies from day to day. It is illegal to purchase currency from individuals or entities that are not authorized by the Central Bank of Brazil to perform exchange services.

In Recife and Belo Horizonte, authorized exchange dealers provide these services. A limited number of automated teller machines (ATMs) accept U.S. ATM cards. This service is expanding. As an added convenience, many personal bills for things like residential telephones and cable television services may be paid at banks.

Brazil has many banks, including Citibank and the Bank of Boston. Most banks also offer ATM service for account holders.

International credit cards are beginning to enjoy widespread acceptance in Brazil. Major credit cards include Diner's Club, American Express, Master Charge, Visa, and Credicard. They may be used for a variety of purchases and for travel expenses. The rates of exchange offered on credit card purchases are competitive at this time.

The international metric system of weights and measures is standard for Brazil.


Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Feb/Mar. (Mon & Tuesbefore Ash Wed.) Carnival*

Feb/Mar Ash Wednesday*

Mar. 19 St. Joseph's Day

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar/Apr. Easter*

Apr. 21 Tiradentes Day

May 1 Labor Day

June Corpus Christi*

Sept. 7 Independence Day

Oct. 12 Our Lady of Aparecida

Nov. 1 All Saints' Day

Nov. 2 All Souls' Day

Nov. 15 Proclamation of the Republic

Dec. 25 Christmas Day



The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country:

Amado, Jorge. Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon. New York: Knopf. 1962. America's Watch. The Struggle for Land in Brazil: Rural Violence in Brazil. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1991.

Atkins, G., Editor. South America into the 1990's: Evolving International Relationships. Boulder, Co.: Westview, 1989.

Baer, Werner and Joseph S. Tulchin. Brazil & the Challenge of Economic Reform. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1993.

Bastide, Roger. The African Religions of Brazil: Toward a Sociology of the Interpenetrating of Civilizations. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978.

Bishop, Elizabeth. Anthology of 20th Century Brazilian Poetry. Wesleyan University Press, 1971.

Bradbury, Alex. Backcountry Brazil: The Pantanal, Amazon, and the Northeast Coast. Edison, N.J.: Hunter Publishing, 1990.

Bunker, Steven G. Under Developing the Amazon: Extraction, Unequal Exchange, and the Failure of the Modern State. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985.

Burns, E. Bradford. History of Brazil. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.

Costa, Emilia Viotti da. The Brazilian Empire: Myths and Histories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Costa, Gino R Brazil's Foreign Policy: Toward Regional Dominance. Boulder, Co.: Westview, 1989.

DaCunha, Euclides. Rebellion in the Backlands. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957.

Damatta, Roberto. Carnivals, Rogues, & Heroes: An Interpretation of the Brazilian Dilemma. South Bend, Ind: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991.

Degler, Carl L. Neither Black Nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the U.S. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1971.

Dos Passos, John. Brazil on the Move. New York: Paragon, 1963.

Everson, Norma. Two Brazilian Capitols: Architecture and Urbanism in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973.

Fontaine, Pierre-Michel. Race, Class and Power in Brazil. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985. Freyre, Gilberto. The Masters and the Slaves: A Study in the Development of Brazilian Civilization. New York: Knopf, 1964.

Guillermoprieto, Alma. Samba. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1990.

Guimarães Roberto. Politics & Environment in Brazil: The Ecopolitics of Development in the Third World. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1995.

Hagopian, Frances. Traditional Politics & Regime Change in Brazil. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Jesus, Carolina Maria de. Child of the Dark. NAL, 1963.

Johnson, Randal and Robert Stam. Brazilian Cinema. East Brunswick, N.J.: Associated University Presses, 1982.

Kanitz, S. Brazil: The Emerging Economic Boom, 1995-2005. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1995.

Mainwaring, Scott. The Catholic Church in Brazil, 1916-1985. Palo Alto, Ca.: Stanford University Press, 1986.

McCann, Frank. The Brazilian-American Alliance 1937-1945. Princeton University Press: 1973.

Nyrop, Richard F., ed. Brazil: A Country Study. American University, Foreign Area Studies, 1982.

Page, Joseph A. The Brazilians. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Inc., 1995.

Parker, Richard. Bodies, Pleasure and Passions: Sexual Culture in Contemporary Brazil. Beacon Press, 1993.

Pang, Eul-Sol. Bahia in the First Republic. Gainesville: University of Florida, 1979.

Penglase, Ben. Final Justice: Police and Death Squad Homicides of Adolescents in Brazil. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994.

Poppino, Rollie E. Brazil the Land and the People. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

Revkin, Andrew. The Burning Season: The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990.

Roett, Riordan. Brazil, Politics in a Patrimonial Society. New York: Praeger 1984.

Schmink, Marianne and Charles H. Wood (eds.). Frontier Expansion in Amazonia. Gainesville, FL: University Presses of Florida, 1985.

Shoumatoff, Alex. The Capital of Hope: Brasilia and Its People. New York: Random House, New York, 1980.

Skidmore, Thomas E. Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1993.

Vianna Moog, Clodomiro. Bandeirantes and Pioneers. New York: George Braziller, 1964.

Updike, John. Brazil. 1991.

Wagley, Charles. Introduction to Brazil. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971.

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Federative Republic of Brazil

República Federativa do Brasil

CAPITAL: Brasília

FLAG: The national flag consists of a green field upon which is a large yellow diamond twice as wide as it is high. Centered within the diamond is a blue globe showing constellations of the southern skies dominated by the Southern Cross. Encircling the globe is a white banner bearing the words Ordem e Progresso.

ANTHEM: Hino Nacional Brasileiro, beginning "Ouviram do Ipiranga" ("Listen to the cry of Ipiranga").

MONETARY UNIT: On 1 July 1994, the real (r$), a paper currency of 100 centavos, replaced the cruzeiro real (cr$). r$1 = us$0.40161 (or us$1 = r$2.49) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard, but some local units also are used.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Tiradentes, 21 April; Labor Day, 1 May; Independence Day, 7 September; Our Lady of Aparecida (Patroness of Brazil), 12 October; All Souls' Day, 2 November; Proclamation of the Republic, 15 November; Christmas, 25 December. Movable holidays include the pre-Lenten carnival, usually in February, Good Friday, and Corpus Christi.

TIME: At noon GMT, the time in Fernando de Noronha is 10 am; Río de Janeiro, 9 am; Manaus, 8 am; Río Branco, 7 am.


Situated on the east-central coast of the continent, Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fourth-largest in the world in coterminous area, ranking after Russia, Canada, and China (the United States is larger with Alaska, Hawaii, and the dependencies included). Occupying nearly half of the South American continent, it covers an area of 8,511,965 sq km (3,286,488 sq mi), extending 4,395 km (2,731 mi) ns and 4,320 km (2,684 mi) ew. Contiguous with all continental South American countries except Ecuador and Chile, Brazil is bounded on the n by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, on the ne, e, and se by the Atlantic Ocean, on the s by Uruguay, on the sw by Argentina and Paraguay, on the w by Bolivia and Peru, and on the nw by Colombia, with a total boundary length of 14,691 km (9,128 mi). Brazil is divided into 26 states and one federal district. The federal district, including the capital of Brasília, inaugurated on 21 April 1960, is surrounded on three sides by the state of Goiás and on the fourth by Minas Gerais.

Brazil's capital city, Brasília, is located in the southeastern part of the country.


The northern part of Brazil is dominated by the basin of the Amazon River and its many tributaries, which occupies two-fifths of the country. The Amazon Basin itself occupies 7,049,975 sq km (2,722,000 sq mi), or about 40% of South America's total area. The Amazon River (Río Amazonas) is, at 6,436 km (4,000 mi), the world's second-longest river after the Nile, although the Amazon ranks first in volume of water carried; rising in the Peruvian Andes, the Amazon eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean at an average rate of about 198,000 cu m (7 million cu ft) per second. The Amazon lowlands east of the Andes constitute the world's largest tropical rain forest. In the northernmost part of the Amazon Basin lies a series of mountain ranges, known as the Guiana Highlands, where Brazil's highest mountain, Pico da Neblina (3,014 m/9,888 ft), is located. South of the Amazon Basin is a large plateau called the Brazilian Highlands, ranging in elevation from 300 to 910 m (1,000 to 3,000 ft) above sea level. From the city of Salvador (Bahia) southward to Pôrto Alegre, the highlands meet the Atlantic Ocean in a steep, wall-like slope, the Great Escarpment, which in southeastern Brazil is surmounted by mountain ranges with elevations from 2,100 to 2,400 m (7,000 to 8,000 ft) above sea level.

The Atlantic coast of Brazil has no real coastal plain, but there are stretches of lowlands along the northeast coast, and there are many bay-like indentations, where Brazil's principal cities are located. Along the southwest border is a small portion of the upper Paraguay lowlands. The Paraná, Paraguay, and Uruguay rivers flow through southern Brazil; the São Francisco flows 3,199 km (1,988 mi) through northeastern and central Brazil; and the Tocantins (2,698 km/1,677 mi) empties into the Pará and from there into the Atlantic Ocean at an estuary south of the Amazon proper.


Brazil is a tropical country but extends well into the temperate zone. The Amazon Basin has a typically hot, tropical climate, with annual rainfall exceeding 300 cm (117 in) in some areas; the Brazilian Highlands, which include roughly half of the total area, are subtropical. The narrow coastal lowland area ranges from tropical in the north to temperate in the south. The cool upland plains of the south have a temperate climate and an occasional snowfall. The coolest period is from May to September, and the hottest is from December to March. October to May is the rainy season. Rainfall is excessive in the lowlands and in the upper Amazon Basin, along the northern coast, at certain points on the east coast, and in the southern interior, while there are periodic droughts in the northeast. The average high temperature in Río de Janeiro in February is 29°c (84°f); the average low in July is 17°c (63°f).


As of 2002, there were at least 394 species of mammals, 686 species of birds, and over 56,000 species of plants. About one-fourth of the world's known plant species are found in Brazil. The Amazon Basin, the world's largest tropical rain forest, includes tall Brazil nut trees, brazilwood, myriad palms, kapok-bearing ceiba trees enlaced with vines and creepers, rosewood, orchids, water lilies, and the wild rubber tree.

South of the vast Amazonian forest is a mixture of semideciduous forest (mata) and scrub forests. The characteristic flora of the northeast interior is the carnauba wax-yielding palm in the states of Ceará and Piauí. To the east there are big areas of thorn scrub, the result of generally poor soils and periodic devastating droughts. Along the humid coast are many mango, cajú, guava, coconut, and jack-fruit trees, as well as large sugar and cotton plantations, the latter indigenous. Within the savanna, sparse forests, and "campos cerrados" (enclosed fields of badly deforested, populous Minas Gerais), there are various woody shrubs, lianas, and epiphytes, the staghorn fern, and an abundance of herbs, especially grasses. Brazil has many fair to good pasturage grasses, on which millions of beef cattle, not always of high grade, and some dairy cattle in the favored southern states graze.

In the southern states are exotic flowers, such as papagaias; flowering trees, such as the quaresma, which blossoms during Lent; and the popular ipê tree with its yellow petals, planted on some São Paulo streets. In the southernmost part of the Brazilian plateau forests, where temperate climate prevails, is found a mixture of araucarias (umbrella pines) and broadleaf species. The pampas of Río Grande do Sul are extensive grasslands. Maté, of economic importance as a beverage, is made from the roasted, powdered leaves of a tree harvested extensively in the southern states.

The Amazon rain forest is host to a great variety of tropical fauna, including hundreds of types of macaws, toucans, parrots, and other brightly colored birds; brilliant butterflies; many species of small monkeys; anacondas, boas, and other large tropical snakes; crocodiles and alligators; and such distinctive animals as the Brazilian "tiger" (onca), armadillo, sloth, and tapir. The rivers in that region abound with turtles and exotic tropical fish, and the infamous "cannibal fish" (piranha) is common; in all, more than 2,000 fish species have been identified.


A 20-year US-Brazilian project, initiated by the World Wildlife Fund, in Washington, D.C., and the National Institute for Research on Amazonia, in Manaus, studied the Amazon forest since 1978 in order to recommend appropriate measures for its protection. In 1986, it was estimated that the forests of the Amazon were being cleared for colonization, pasturage, timber development, and other commercial purposes at a rate of up to 20 million hectares (50 million acres) a year. From 1990 to 2000, the average annual rate of deforestation was 0.4% per year. A Brazilian law requiring that developers leave 50% of each Amazon land parcel untouched is erratically enforced.

Other environmental problems in Brazil include water pollution and land damage. Rivers near urban industrial centers are polluted by mercury, toxic industrial wastes, and untreated waste. Brazil lacks fertile soil for agriculture, and the existing soils are threatened by erosion from the clearing of the forests.

Federal agencies with environmental responsibilities include the National Environment Council of the Ministry of the Interior, the Brazilian Institute of Forest Development, and the Ministry of Planning.

Only 6.7% of Brazil's natural areas were protected in 2003, including seven natural UNSECO World Heritage Sites and eight Ramsar wetland sites.

The damage to the rain forest environment is reflected in the number of endangered species which inhabit the region. Between 1900 and 1950, 60 species of birds and mammals became extinct. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 74 types of mammals, 120 species of birds, 22 types of reptiles, 24 species of amphibian, 42 species of fish, 21 types of mollusks, 13 other invertebrates, and 381 species of plants. The list of endangered species includes Lutz's coastal frog, the Lear's macaw, the guayaquil great green macaw, the American crocodile, two species of marmoset (buffy-headed and white-eared), three species of tamarin (golden lion, golden-headed lion, and golden-rumped lion), the black saki, the woolly spider monkey, and the maned sloth. At least 13 species have become extinct, including the Glaucous macaw.


The population of Brazil in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 184,184,000, which placed it at number 5 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 6% of the population were over 65 years of age, with another 29% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 97 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 1.4%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 228,874,000. The population density was 22 per sq km (56 per sq mi).

The population is concentrated in the Atlantic coastal region, especially in the southeast, with the states of Río de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Minas Gerais containing approximately 41% of the total; the states of Bahia, Río Grande do Sul, Pernambuco, and Ceará have about 23%, and the remaining units about 36%.

The UN estimated that 81% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1.63%. The capital city, Brasília, had a population of 3,099,000 in that year. Other major metropolitan areas and their estimated populations are: São Paulo, 18,333,000; Río de Janeiro, 11,469,000; Belo Horizonte, 5,304,000; Porto Alegre, 3,795,000; Recife, 3,527,000; Salvador, 3,331,000; Fortaleza, 3,261,000; Curitiba, 2,871,000; Campinas, 2,640,000; Belém 2,097,000; Manaus, 1,673,000; Santos, 1,600,000; Goiânia, 1,878,000; São Luís, 978,824; and São José dos Campos, 949,000. The vast interior of the country is sparsely populated, with the indigenous population somewhat concentrated near the Amazon River Basin.


Between 1821 and 1945, approximately 5.2 million European immigrants entered Brazil, most of them settling in the south. Brazil has the largest expatriate Japanese colony in the world, numbering more than one million. In recent years, because of the increasing prosperity of Europe and Japan, there has been less desire to migrate to underdeveloped rural Brazil or its inflation-harassed industrial cities. Moreover, immigration is controlled by laws limiting the annual entry of persons of any national group to 2% of the total number of that nationality that had entered in the preceding 50 years. The total number of migrants in 2000 was 546,000. As of 2004, Brazil was hosting some 3,833 refugees, 80% of whom came from Africa. In 2004, 1.5 to 3 million Brazilians were abroad, most in the United States. Remittances in 2004 were estimated at $6 billion, equivalent to earnings from soybean exports. In 2005, the net migration rate was estimated as -0.03 per 1,000 population.


The indigenous inhabitants were Amerindians, chiefly of Tupi-Guaraní stock, and other small groups in the Amazon Basin and the lowlands of the Paraguay and Paraná rivers. The Portuguese settlers had few taboos against race mixture, and centuries of large-scale intermarriage have produced a tolerant and distinctly Brazilian culture. Within the Brazilian nationality are blended the various aboriginal Indian cultures; the Portuguese heritage, with its diverse strains; the traditions of millions of persons of African descent; and European elements resulting from sizable immigration since 1888 from Italy, Spain, Germany, and Poland. The influx of Japanese and some Arabs during the 20th century has contributed to the complex Brazilian melting pot.

According to the 2000 census, 53.7% of Brazil's population are white; 38.5% are mixed white and black; and 6.2% are black. The remainder are comprised of Japanese, Arab, and Amerindian groups.


The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, which is spoken by virtually all inhabitants except some isolated Indian groups. Substantial variations in pronunciation and word meaning, however, distinguish it from the language as it is spoken in Portugal. Spanish is also spoken. A large percentage of the educated have learned either French or English. German, Italian, and Japanese are used in immigrant communities.


The 2000 census indicated that about 74% of the population were affiliated with the Roman Catholic church. Protestants constituted roughly 15% of the population, the majority of whom (about 85%) were Pentecostal/Evangelical; Lutherans and Baptists accounted for most of the remaining Protestants. Other denominations included the Assemblies of God, the Christian Congregation of Brazil, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Baptist. About 374,000 respondents to the census were members of "oriental religions," which include several branches of Buddhism, Messianism, Seicho No-le, Perfect Liberty, Hare Krishna, Oshoo Disciples, Tenrykyo, Mahicari, Baha'i, Shintoism, and Taoism. There were about 27,239 Muslims, primarily of the Sunni and Shia branches. About 2,905 Brazilians were Hindus. About 7% of the population did not claim any religious affiliation. Muslim leaders estimated that about 3 million citizens were nominally Muslims; however, only about 700,000 were active participants in religious practices. About 100,000 Brazilians are Jewish.

Followers of traditional African and syncretic religions make up about 4% of the populace. Candomble, which focuses on traditional African deities, is a predominant religion among Afro-Brazilians. Xango and Macumba include practices of animism as well as the veneration of Catholic saints and African deities. About 1.3% of the population adhere to a spiritism doctrine known as Kardecism, which was introduced in the 19th century by Allan Kardec of France.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and the right is generally respected in practice. There is no official state religion; however, the government of Brazil maintains a Concordat with the Vatican. Several Roman Catholic holidays are celebrated as public holidays.


Roads are the primary carriers of freight and passenger traffic. Brazil's road system totaled 1.98 million km (1.23 million mi) in 2002. The total of paved roads increased from 35,496 km (22,056 mi) in 1967 to 184,140 km (114,425 mi) in 2002. Motor vehicles registered as of 2003 included 16,650,000 passenger cars, and 4,200,000 commercial vehicles. Although the bulk of highway traffic is concentrated in the southern and central regions, important roads have been constructed to link the northeastern and northern areas with the industrialized south. Roads of all types have been built with federal aid, the most important being the network of more than 14,000 km (8,700 mi) of paved roads south of Brasília; aid is also supplied for their maintenance. In September 1970, construction began on the 5,000-km (3,100-mi) Trans-Amazon Highway, possibly the most ambitious overland road project undertaken in this century, linking Brazil's Atlantic coast with the Peruvian border; when completed, a 4,138-km (2,571-mi) north-south section will link Santarém, on the Amazon River, with Cuiabá. The project has had a profound effect on the Amazon Basin, among the world's last great wildernesses. However, a World Bank study in the early 1990s showed that 28% of the country's existing highways were in bad condition, up from only 10% in 1979. Lack of proper road maintenance possibly adds 1015% to total transportation costs in Brazil. As of 2002, the government had privatized or turned over to the states most of the federal highway system.

Brazil's railway system has been declining since 1945, when emphasis shifted to highway construction. The total extent of railway trackage was 29,412 km (18,294 mi) of broad, standard, and narrow gauge right of way in 2004, as compared with 31,848 km (19,789 mi) in 1970. Of that total, 1.000-m narrow gauge track accounts for the largest portion at 23,915 km (14,875 mi), followed by broad gauge track (1.6 m) at 4,907 km (3,052 mi). Standard gauge track (194 km/121 mi) and a dual broad/narrow gauge track system (396 km/246 mi) make up the remainder. Most of the railway system belongs to the Federal Railroad Corp., with a majority government interest. There are also seven lines that the government privatized in 1997.

Coastal shipping links widely separated parts of the country. Of the 36 deep-water ports, Santos and Río de Janeiro are the most important, followed by Paranaguá, Recife, Vitória, Tubarao, Maceió, and Ilhéus. Bolivia and Paraguay have been given free ports at Santos. Although there are 50,000 km (31,070 mi) of navigable inland waterways, most as of 2004, were remote from the country's population and industry. In 2005, the merchant shipping fleet, which included 150 vessels (1,000 GRT or over), had a total GRT of 2,961,431.

Air transportation is highly developed. In 2003, local and international airlines transported about 32.372 million passengers. In 2004 there were an estimated 4,136 airports, of which 709 had paved runways as of 2005. There were also 417 heliports (as of 2005). Of the 48 principal airports, 21 are international; of these, Río de Janeiro's Galeao international airport and São Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport are by far the most active. The main international airline is Empresa de Viaçao Aérea Río Grandense (VARIG). Other Brazilian airlines are Transbrasil Linhas Aéreas, Cruzeiro do Sul, (associated with VARIG since 1983), and Viaçao Aérea São Paulo (VASP), which handles only domestic traffic and is run by the state of São Paulo. All except VASP are privately owned.


The original inhabitants of Brazil were hunter-gatherers, except in the lower Amazon, where sedentary agriculture developed. There are no reliable population estimates from pre-European times, but probably there were no more than one million.

After the European discovery of the New World, Spain and Portugal became immediate rivals for the vast new lands. Portugal's claim was established by a papal bull of Pope Alexander VI (1493) and by the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), which awarded to Portugal all territory 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. On Easter Sunday in 1500, the Portuguese admiral Pedro Álvares Cabral formally claimed the land for the Portuguese crown. Cabral's ship returned to Portugal with a cargo of red dyewood, which had been gathered along the shore, and from the name of the wood, paubrasil, the new land acquired the name Brazil.

In 1532, the first Portuguese colonists arrived, bringing cattle, seed, and the first slaves from Africa. In 1549, the Portuguese governor-general, Tomé da Souza, founded the city of São Salvador, and established the first Portuguese government in the New World. The same year marked the arrival of the missionary Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) to begin their work among the Indians.

Other Europeans began to move in on the Portuguese colony. In 1555, the French established a settlement in the Bay of Río de Janeiro. In 1624, the Dutch attacked Bahia and began to extend throughout northeastern Brazil. Under the Dutch, who remained until ousted in 1654, the area flourished economically. Colonists planted sugarcane, and during the 17th century, the large sugar plantations of northeastern Brazil were the world's major source of sugar.

In 1640, Portugal appointed a viceroy for Brazil, with his seat first in Bahia and after 1763 in Río de Janeiro. The discovery of gold in 1693 and of diamonds about 1720 opened up new lands for colonization in what are now the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Goiás, and Mato Grosso. From their base in São Paulo, Brazilian pioneers (Bandeirantes) pushed inland, along with their herds of cattle and pigs, in search of Indian slaves and mineral riches. By the 1790s, when the primitive surface gold and diamond mines were largely exhausted, the Brazilian plateau became thinly populated.

Brazil's first attempt at independence came in 1789 in the mining state of Minas Gerais. A plot, known as the Miners' Conspiracy (Conjuração Mineira) was led by Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, a healer known as Tiradentes ("tooth-puller"). The plot was betrayed and crushed, and Tiradentes was captured and eventually executed, but Tiradentes remains a national hero. In 1807, the invading armies of Napoleon forced the Portuguese royal family and 15,000 Portuguese subjects to flee to Brazil. Río de Janeiro became the seat of the Portuguese royal family until 1821, when King John (João) VI returned home, leaving his son Pedro to rule Brazil as regent. Meanwhile, Portugal's monopolistic trade practices, the suppression of domestic industry, and oppressive taxation had brought about a strong movement for independence, which Pedro supported.

Pedro proclaimed Brazil's independence on 7 September 1822, and later that year was crowned Emperor Pedro I. In 1831, a military revolt forced him to abdicate. The throne passed to his five-year-old son, Pedro. In 1840, Pedro was crowned Emperor. Under Pedro II, Brazil enjoyed half a century of peaceful progress. New frontiers were opened, many immigrants arrived from Europe, railroads were built, and the gathering of rubber in the Amazon Basin stimulated the growth of cities, such as Belém and Manaus. The abolition of slavery in 1888 brought about an economic crisis that disrupted the Brazilian Empire. In 1889, a bloodless revolution deposed Pedro II and established the Republic of the United States of Brazil. A new constitution modeled after the US federal constitution, was promulgated by the Brazilian government in 1891. At first, the republic was ruled by military regimes, but by 1894 constitutional stability was achieved.

Meanwhile, empty areas of good soil were settled in the southern plateau by over 2.5 million Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, and Levantine immigrants. The rapid spread of coffee cultivation in the state of São Paulo transformed Brazil into the world's largest coffee-producing country. By the end of the 19th century, coffee had become the nation's principal source of wealth. Brazil soon entered a period of economic and political turmoil. Malayan and Indonesian rubber plantations had overwhelmed the Brazilian rubber market, while coffee revenues were reduced by falling world prices of coffee. Regionalism and military rivalries contributed to instability, and by 1930, the nation was in a state of unrest. In that year, a military coup with widespread civilian support placed into power Getúlio Vargas, the governor of Río Grande do Sul.

Vargas' ideology was a blend of populism and corporatism. He sought reforms for Brazil's middle and lower classes, but discouraged dissent and was often repressive. Between 1930 and 1937 Vargas brought a minimum wage and social security to Brazil, but also crushed a leftist uprising in 1935. Vargas formalized his system in 1937, calling it the New State (Estado Novo). For eight years, Vargas attempted to industrialize Brazil, while organizing both workers and their employers into state-run syndicates. Vargas was nationalist in foreign policy, although he encouraged foreign investment. He exploited the US-German rivalry over Latin America to get large amounts of aid until joining the allies in 1942.

Conservative elements of the military, convinced that Vargas was a dangerous force, removed him from office, and promulgated a new constitution in 1946. The "Second Republic" was initiated with the presidency of Eurico Dutra. Vargas was returned to the presidency in the election of 1950 and did not attempt to rejuvenate the New State. He did continue to press for industrialization under state control, establishing a National Development Bank and a state petroleum company. Eventually he ran afoul of the military, which demanded his resignation. He committed suicide in August 1954, a few months before his term of office was due to expire.

He was succeeded from 1955 to 1961 by Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira. Kubitschek embarked on an ambitious program of development, spending huge amounts of money and attracting large foreign investments in Brazil. Kubitschek's most ambitious program was the building of a new federal capital, Brasília, in the highlands of central Brazil. Inflation and a burdensome national debt proved to be his undoing, and in January 1961 Jânio da Silva Quadros was inaugurated after a campaign promising an end to corruption and economic stability. The situation proved too difficult for Quadros, and he resigned after only seven months. João Goulart, who had been vice president under both Kubitschek and Quadros, became president only after the conservative Congress combined with the military to reduce his powers and institute an unwieldy form of parliamentary government. In January 1963, in a national plebiscite, Brazil chose to restore presidential powers. But Goulart was caught between pressures from the left, demanding the acceleration of social programs, and the right, increasingly alarmed by trends toward populism.

On 1 April 1964 the military deposed Goulart and arrested 40,000 people, including 80 members of Congress. In the same month, Congress appointed Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco to the presidency, and in July it approved a constitutional amendment extending Castelo Branco's term of office to March 1967. National elections were postponed, and Brazil entered an era of military supremacy.

In March 1967 Arthur da Costa e Silva, a former army marshal, took office under a new constitution. That constitution was suspended in December 1968, and military hard-liners took the upper hand. Costa e Silva suffered a stroke in September 1969 and died in December. Gen. Emilio Garrastazú Médici, former head of the secret police was chosen to replace him. In March 1974, Gen. Ernesto Geisel, a high official in the Castelo Branco government, became president.

The military governments of the previous 10 years had brought Brazil rapid economic expansion, but there was a dramatic reversal during the oil crisis of 197374. Opposition began to mount, encouraged by religious and trade union leaders. President Geisel gradually instituted some degree of political liberalization (abertura ), but the military split on the wisdom of this policy.

During the late 1970s, continuing economic difficulties led to labor unrest and numerous strikes, including a strike of 300,000 metalworkers in metropolitan São Paulo in April and May of 1980 that ended only after troops in tanks and trucks occupied the region. Meanwhile, Gen. João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo became president in March 1979. That August, Figueiredo continued Geisel's policy of liberalization by signing a political amnesty law that allowed many political exiles to return home. Also in 1979, censorship of the press and the controlled two-party system were abolished. In November 1982, Brazil had its first democratic elections since 1964. Opposition parties won the governorships of 10 populous states and a majority in the lower house of Congress, but the ruling party remained in control of the upper house and the electoral college, which was to choose the next president. Moreover, the military retained broad powers to intervene in political affairs under national security laws.

The 1985 election was indirect, yet the opposition managed to turn the campaign in 1984 into a reflection of popular choice and capture the presidency. The ruling party chose São Paulo governor Paulo Maluf, who proved unable to distance himself from the unpopularity of the military-controlled regime. The opposition capitalized on the groundswell of hostility and coalesced behind the paternal figure of Tancredo Neves, a senator from Minas Gerais who had held office under Vargas and who campaigned as if the ballot were direct. The election went against the government, and in January 1985, the electoral college duly chose Neves as Brazil's first civilian president in a generation. In March, however, just before his inauguration, Neves fell gravely ill, and he died in April without having been formally sworn in. Brazilians feared another military strike, but Vice President José Sarney was allowed to take office as president. Sarney, who represented a small center-right party allied with Neves's party, consolidated his position after an impressive showing in regional and legislative elections in November 1986.

A new constitution, passed in 1988, was followed by elections a year later. Brazil's first direct presidential elections in 29 years resulted in the victory of Fernando Collor de Mello. Collor received 53% of the vote in the runoff elections. Collor took office in March 1990 and launched an ambitious liberalization program that attempted to stabilize prices and deregulate the economy. Collor was in the process of renegotiating Brazil's huge debt with foreign creditors and the IMF when massive corruption was revealed inside the Collor administration. Allegations implicated Collor himself, who was forced to resign in December 1992. Itamar Franco took over, promising to continue Collor's programs, but long-standing structural problems continued. The nation's chronic inflation was finally brought under control through the Real Plan launched in 1994 by finance minister Fernando Enrique Cardoso (and named for the new currency, linked to the US dollar, which was introduced under the plan).

On the strength of the plan's success, Cardoso, a leading social scientist, was elected to the presidency in October 1994. His policies, which continued to keep inflation under control, reduced tariffs, and included major privatization measures, earned him sufficient support for the passage in January 1997 of a constitutional amendment by the lower house of Congress overturning the nation's ban on consecutive presidential terms and making it possible for Cardoso to seek reelection in 1998. He won reelection in October of 1998 with 53% of the vote in the first round. Worker's Party candidate Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva came second with 31.7%. Cardoso also commanded the support of a loose center-right coalition of parties. One of the major challenges tackled by the Cardoso administration was the privatization of the stateowned mining company, Vale de Río Doce, which drew strong opposition from nationalist, leftist, and religious forces. In May 1997 a $3.2 billion controlling stake in the mining and transport conglomerate was sold to private investors. Cardoso's parties also won a majority of the state governor races. Shortly after the election, as a result of the economic crisis, Brazil was forced to devalue its currency, the real. Previously pegged to the US dollar, the real lost more than 60% of its value within days, sending the country into a deeper crisis. Some recovery was observed starting in 1999, but social discontent resulting from high unemployment and growing poverty also flourished. Cardoso was constitutionally prevented from seeking a third consecutive presidential term in 2002.

In the 2002 election, Lula da Silva, the runner-up in the previous two elections and the founder of the Worker's Party, finally succeeded in winning the presidency. After placing first in the first-round election, Lula went on to win more than 61% of the vote to defeat José Serra, Cardoso's candidate, and become the first factory worker ever to be elected president of Brazil. Although many observers feared that Lula would adopt policies detrimental to sound fiscal management and would favor redistribution of wealth over fiscal discipline, during his first months in office Lula demonstrated his ability to be a clever, reliable, trustworthy leader who sought to balance sound macroeconomic policies with an active but responsible commitment to reduce poverty and use government resources to help those most in need. The economy recovered after the 1998 crisis, but poverty and inequality remained widespread and fighting them was Lula's first priority as president. Lula's Zero Hunger plan, aimed at devoting state resources to help the most impoverished Brazilians, received enthusiastic support from political actors and international observers.

In 2004, Brazilalong with Germany, India, and Japanlaunched an application for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Those in favor of expanding the Security Council from its current five permanent members (the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China) argued such expansion would remedy the democratic and representative deficit from which the Council suffers. African leaders also wanted permanent African representation in the Council.

During the summer of 2005, corruption allegations plagued the governing Workers' Party (PT). The PT was accused of paying monthly bribes of $12,000 to lawmakers from other parties, and of manipulating the system of appointments to state-run companies. A wave of resignations ensued. President Lula da Silva made a televised apology and claimed he knew nothing about the corruption. His popularity, however, suffered a blow as a result of the corruption scandal.


The Federative Republic of Brazil is a constitutional republic composed of 26 states and the Federal District. This district surrounds the federal capital, Brasília. The constitution of October 1988 established a strong presidential system.

The president and vice president are elected to four-year terms and can be reelected once. In 1985, the previous constitution was amended to allow for direct popular election as opposed to an electoral college system. Between 1964 and 1978, presidents were pre-selected by the military. The president is the head of the armed forces and is in charge of the executive branch, assisted in that task by a cabinet of ministers. He also appoints justices to the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the highest court in Brazil.

The Congress consists of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Senate has 81 members, 3 for each state plus the Federal District. Senators serve for eight-year terms, with half the members retiring every four years. The 513 deputies are elected for four-year terms by a system of proportional representation in the states, territories, and Federal District. The constitution stipulates that Congress meet every year from 15 March to 15 December. In practice, from 1964 to 1985, the military used the office of the president to dominate the Congress and the state legislatures, suspending them from time to time.

Voting is compulsory between the ages of 18 and 70 and optional for persons over 70, and those between 16 and 18 years of age. Illiterates were permitted to vote in 1985. Military conscripts may not vote.


During the last days of the Brazilian Empire, a group of positivists advocating abolition of the monarchy organized the Republican Party (Partido RepublicanoPR) along military lines. After the fall of the empire in 1889, the government was controlled by PR-supported military regimes and opposed locally by the established Conservative and Liberal parties. An opposition group, the Civilian Party (Partido Civilista), organized by Ruy Barbosa, overcame the military regime but was soon absorbed into the Conservative and Liberal groups from Minas Gerais and São Paulo, which instituted a system of alternating the presidency between the two states.

Getúlio Vargas was responsible for the success of three successive parties, one of which survives to this day. In 1930, Vargas formed the Liberal Alliance Movement (Aliança Nacional LiberalANL). After Vargas resigned the presidency in 1945 his supporters formed the Social Democratic Party (Partido Social DemocráticoPSD). Eurico Dutra, who succeeded Vargas, ran under this party. In 1950, Vargas was elected under the banner of the Brazilian Labor Party (Partido Trabalhista BrasileiroPTB). Finally, Vargas inspired the National Democratic Union (União Democrática NacionalUDN) to put up candidates against him. The UDN won the presidency in 1961 for Quadros.

The PSD continued on without Vargas, but formed a coalition with the PTB in 1955. The PSD candidate, Kubitschek, became president, while the PTB's leader, Goulart, became vice president. In the 1958 congressional elections, however, the PTB broke with the PSD. The PTB survives as a small party, having lost many of its members to other laborite parties.

After the military takeover in 1964, parties disappeared. In 1966, the military allowed the formation of two official parties: the Alliance for National Renewal (Aliança Renovadora NacionalARENA) and the Brazilian Democratic Movement (Movimento Democrático BrasileiroMDB). ARENA was created as the ruling party, with the MDB playing the role of "loyal opposition." ARENA began with two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress and increased its majorities in the elections of 1970, while also maintaining control of nearly all state legislatures. ARENA scored further gains in the 1972 municipal elections. However, beginning in November 1974, the MDB began to score legislative gains. Moreover, in the 1974 election the MDB was able to raise issues of social justice and civil liberties.

In November 1979, in accordance with the government's liberalization policy, Congress passed a law abolishing ARENA and the MDB and permitting the formation of new parties. Over the next decade, a number of groups emerged. The government created the conservative Social Democratic Party (Partido Democrático SocialPDS) to replace ARENA. The Democratic Workers' Party (Partido Democrático TrabalhistaPDT) is headed by Leonel Brizola, a frequent critic of the military regime and leader of a similar party before 1964. The Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (Partido de Movimento Democrático BrasileiroPMDB) is a moderate successor to the MDB. The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) was founded in 1988 by former PMDB members, including future president Fernando Enrique Cardoso. The Workers' Party (Partido dos TrabalhadoresPT) is led by Luis Inácio da Silva, also known as "Lula," the popular leader of the metalworkers' union. In 1989, Lula placed second in the presidential race, running under a coalition of laborite parties called the Popular Front. Lula lost the runoff election to Collor, receiving 47% of the vote. He ran again unsuccessfully in 1994 and 1998 before winning the 2002 presidential election. The Brazilian Workers' Party (Partido Trabalnista BrasileiroPTB) is a populist party with working-class appeal, but is conservative on a variety of economic issues. The PT is currently the party with most legislators in congress and its ability to govern will be tested during Lula's presidential term (200307).

In 1985, the Liberal Front Party (PFL) was organized by dissident PDS members. It formed the National Alliance with the PMDB, an alliance that won the 1985 elections. Although the PFL lost the 1989 presidential elections, it soon allied with President Collor, although the scandal of 1992 did little to help its fortunes. In the 2002 election, the PFL placed second, behind the PT; and PFL had 84 deputies in the 513-member Chamber and 19 senators in the 81-member Senate.

The Communists had been banned since 1957, but were allowed to organize after 1985. The Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro), founded in 1922, is now a Euro-Communist party firmly committed to conventional politics. The Communist Party of Brazil (Partido Comunista do Brasil) is a more radical faction, Maoist in its origins but now expressing solidarity with any socialists who resist reforms.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso of the PSDB was elected president in October 1994, in Brazil's second direct presidential election since 1960, winning 53% of the vote to 26% for the PT candidate, Inácio da Silva (known as Lula), his closest rival. In October 1998 Cardoso won reelection in a first-round election with 53.1% of the vote, defeating Lula who came second with 31.7%. In 2002, Lula won in a runoff election with 61% of the vote, but his PT only captured about one out of every five seats in Congress. Through alliances and coalitions with other parties, Lula secured majority control of both chambers, but Brazilian politics is characterized by the lack of discipline, and party allegiance responds more to provincial and local interests than strong central party discipline. Yet, under Lula's leadership, the PT has successfully become a national party and is currently the largest and most important party in the country. Party loyalty by legislators has remained weak as most members of the legislature show more loyalty to their state governors that national party leadership. But the success of the PT helped foster a higher degree of party discipline and cohesiveness. The corruption scandal that rocked the PT in 2005, however, caused the party to lose a significant amount of public trust.


Brazil is a highly centralized system, in which local units have very little authority. Each of Brazil's 26 states has its own constitution and popularly elected legislature and governor. The states are divided into about 5,500 municipalities, which are, in turn, divided into districts. Each municipality has its own elected council and mayor. The state and municipal legislative bodies are subordinate to the federal government. Municipal authorities are responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads, the creation and upkeep of public parks and museums, and for the program of primary education. As districts increase in population, they, in turn, become municipalities. The large municipalities are important political units and may rival the state in political power. The largest city in each municipality serves as the capital, and usually the largest city in the largest municipality serves as the state capital. The Federal District government in Brasília is appointed by the president with Senate approval.

In 1960, after Brasília became the new capital, the former Federal District, comprising Río de Janeiro and the 1,165 sq km (450 sq mi) surrounding it, became the state of Guanabara. Eventually this state was amalgamated into the state of Río de Janeiro. From 1979 on, a few previously unincorporated territories became states.


The legal system is based on continental European principles. Although the jury system has been used in criminal cases for more than 100 years, there is a general tendency away from the use of juries. The Supreme Federal Court is composed of 11 justices, chosen by the president with Senate approval, who serve until age 70. It has final jurisdiction, especially in cases involving constitutional precepts and the acts of state and local authorities. The Federal Appeals Court deals with cases involving the federal government. Immediately below it are federal courts located in the state capitals and in the Federal District, as well as military and labor courts. Codes of criminal, civil, and commercial law are enacted by Congress, but in order to preserve the jurisdiction of state courts, the federal courts will not accept original jurisdiction solely because a law of Congress is involved. Electoral tribunals deal with registration of political parties, supervision of voting, infractions of electoral laws, and related matters.

Each state and municipality has its own judicial system. Justices of the peace and magistrates deal with commercial and other civil cases of the first instance. Decisions from state or municipal courts may be appealed to the federal courts and on up to the Supreme Federal Court.

There is also a system of specialized courts dealing with police, juveniles, and family matters.

The judiciary is independent from the executive and legislative branches. Judges are appointed for life and may not accept other employment.

Criminal defendants have a right to counsel.


The Brazilian armed forces had 302,909 active personnel, with reserves of 1,340,000 in 2005. The Army had 189,000 personnel, whose equipment included 178 main battle tanks, 286 light tanks, 409 reconnaissance vehicles, 803 armored personnel carriers, and over 1,554 artillery pieces. The Navy had 48,600 personnel, including 14,600 Marines and 1,150 naval aviation personnel. The Navy's major fleet units included 1 aircraft carrier, 14 frigates, 4 corvettes, 50 patrol/coastal vessels, and 6 mine warfare ships. The naval aviation arm had 26 combat capable aircraft that included 23 fighter ground attack aircraft in addition to 26 antisubmarine warfare helicopters. The Air Force had 69,309 active personnel, with 9 combat capable aircraft, consisting of P-3A Orion maritime patrol aircraft. Brazil's paramilitary force was under Army control and consisted of a public security force of more than 385,600 members. Brazil participated in five UN peacekeeping missions in 2005 The defense budget in 2005 totaled $13.08 billion.


Brazil is a charter member of the UN, having joined on 24 October 1945; it belongs to the ECLAC and several specialized agencies, such as the FAO, IAEA, IFC, ILO, IMF, UNESCO, the World Bank, and WHO. Brazil joined the WTO on 1 January 1995. The country also participates in G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, the Río Group, the Latin American Economic System, and the Latin American Integration Association. Brazil is also a member of the OAS. In 1991, Brazil together with Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay created the Mercosur trade and strategic alliance.

Brazil is an observer of the Nonaligned Movement and a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group) and the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin American and the Caribbean (OPANAL). The nation contributed a battalion of troops to the UNEF in the Gaza area after the Suez crisis of 1956 and also sent troops to the Congo (now Zaire) in the early 1960s. It has also supported UN efforts in Kosovo (est. 1999), Liberia (est. 2003), East Timor (est. 2002), Côte d'Ivoire (est. 2004), and Haiti (est. 2004). Brazil serves on the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, which was originally established in 1999 as the Special Commission for the Elimination of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. The country is a signatory of the 1947 Río Treaty, an inter-American security agreement.

In environmental cooperation, Brazil is part of the Antarctic Treaty, the Basel Convention, Conventions on Biological Diversity and Whaling, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, International Tropical Timber Agreements, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.


The history of the Brazilian economy before World War II was characterized by six principal cycles, each centered on one export particular commodity: brazilwood, livestock, sugar, gold, rubber, and coffee. At the height of each cycle, Brazil led the world in production of that commodity. Even during the postwar era, variations in price and market conditions for coffee largely determined the degree of national prosperity.

Attempts to diversify the economy through rapid industrialization made Brazil one of the two leading industrial nations of South America, but spiraling inflation thwarted many of the economic advances. The rising inflationary trend of the mid-1960s was due mainly to public budgetary deficits resulting from losses incurred by the government-owned railroads and shipping lines and by official subsidy expenses for imports, such as wheat and petroleum. At the same time, wages increased at a higher rate than productivity; expansion of credit to private enterprises also lagged. The pace of further industrial expansion was determined largely by the availability of foreign exchange, derived chiefly from the sale of coffee, to buy the necessary equipment and raw materials, especially wheat and crude oil.

After the period of what some called an economic miracle (196873), during which GDP growth averaged more than 11% annually; the economy cooled to an annual growth rate of 6% between 1974 and 1980, mainly because of increased costs of imported oil. Throughout this period, industrial growth rates outstripped those for the economy as a whole, and industrial products claimed an increasingly large share of GDP.

Inflation was so chronic that in the late 1960s, the government instigated monetary correction, whereby fixed payments were indexed to past inflation. Thus, interest rates, pension payments, mortgage payments, and so forth, kept pace with rising prices, but inflation fed on itself. Even as economic growth surged in the mid-1980s, triple-digit inflation persisted. In February 1986, as the projected inflation rate for the year approached 500%, the government imposed a package of sweeping economic reforms, the Cruzado Plan, which created a new currency (the cruzado), eliminated monetary correction, and froze wages and prices. While inflation plunged to near-zero initially, by mid-1987, it had surged beyond 100%, fueled by increased customer spending due to the price freeze. The government then imposed an austerity program and began negotiations with the IMF for a rescheduling of the staggering foreign debt.

The Brazilian economy was hit by a deep recession and record inflation in 1990. The GDP fell by an unprecedented 4%, while inflation hit an all-time high of 2,938%. In March 1990, upon assuming office, President Collor announced sweeping economic reforms designed to stop inflation and integrate Brazil into the developed world economy. In addition, the Collor Plan imposed a price freeze, as well as a freeze on bank deposits, resulting in a precipitated capital flight. Trade barriers were significantly reduced but the attempt to reduce Brazil's large fiscal deficit resulted in the continual resurgence of inflation and a lack of confidence in the government's economic policies.

The Collor government introduced on 31 January 1991 another package, Collor II, attempting to reduce inflation. The package included wage and price controls and eliminated the overnight market. The economy experienced a lackluster recovery with GDP growth of 1.2%. However, the failure to reduce the structural fiscal deficit, inconsistent monetary policy, the unfreezing of prices and wages by the third quarter, and the unfreezing of remaining blocked accounts undermined the efforts to reduce inflation.

Under IMF guidance, monetary policy continued to tighten liquidity in 1992. The failure of the government's stabilization efforts produced a new inflationary spiral with monthly inflation rates in the mid-20% range. High real interest rates combined with the acceleration of inflation and the political uncertainty over the outcome of the impeachment proceedings produced another recession with GDP decline of 1.5% for 1992.

Inflation continued to rage in the early 1990s. In 1994 it peaked at 2,700%. That year, the finance minister, Fernando Henrique Cardoso (later president), introduced a new currency, the real, and a new economic plan called the Real Plan. The plan featured privatization of state-owned industries, lowering of tariffs, and the abolition of Brazil's unique and counterproductive wage-inflation indexing, which had sent prices on a seemingly endless upward spiral. By ending the hyperinflation of the past decades, the government greatly increased the standard of living of millions of Brazilians, allowed businesses to plan for the medium term in an environment of stability, and created a class of economically stable consumers. Inflation had dropped to only 6.9% by 1997, and has since remained in single digits.

From 1988 to 1998, GDP growth averaged 2.4%. The Real Plan had to be abandoned in early 1999, however, as the Brazilian economy became engulfed in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and the Russian financial crisis of 1998. Brazil lost an estimated $50 billion in foreign reserves in the resulting capital flight. Steps were taken by the Group of Seven and the international financial institutions to try to reassure foreign investors. On 2 December 1998, a two-and-three-quarter-year standby agreement with the IMF went into effect, buttressed by a credit line of about $18.2 billion, as well as a one-year standby under the Supplementary Reserve Facility (SRF) with a $12.6 billion credit line, both part of an international support package totaling $41.5 billion. The support package had been designed as a precaution against Brazil catching the "Asian flu," as it were, but it did not prevent the Brazilian currency crisis of 1999. On 13 January 1999 the Central Bank devalued the real by 8%; on 15 January 1999, the Cardoso government announced that the real would no longer be pegged to the US dollar, ending the Real Plan. Immediately, the real lost more than 30% of its value, and subsequent devaluation made the real lose a total of 45% of its value. Despite the devaluation, the economy showed positive, if weak, growth in both 1998 (0.2%) and 1999 (0.8%), and inflation remained under control, at 3.2% in 1998 and 4.9% in 1999. However, Brazil's debt service ratio soared to an untenable 113.1% of export earnings in 1999, up from 62.7% in 1997 and 76.2% in 1998. To some extent, the problem was self-correcting, as the devalued real made Brazilian exports more competitive, which increased export earnings in 2000, and helped reduce the debt service ratio to 90.8% by 2000 and to 78.5% by 2001. GDP grew 4.5% in 2000, led by exports, while inflation picked up to 7%. Growth then fell to 1.4% in 2001 as the US recession and the global economic slowdown dampened export demand.

At the expiration of the 1998 IMF standby agreement in September 2001, two other one-year standbys were put in place with credit lines totaling about $30 billion. In 2002, debt service payments were running at over 80% of exports (a debt service ratio of 80.3%) as export markets continued slow after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and as investors became increasingly anxious about the economic consequences of a victory by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the October presidential election. There were also questions about whether the administration of US president George W. Bush would support another standby arrangement with the IMF for Brazil. On 6 September 2002 the expiring 2001 arrangements were replaced by two more one-year standby arrangements with a $30 billion line of credit just as the currency exchange rate and the Brazilian stock market indexthe Bovespa indexwere reaching historic lows. Both the exchange rate and the Bovespa index improved after the election and into the first quarter 2003; the improvements were in part because the sell-off had preceded the election and in part because the Lula government was proving less radical than had been feared. Overall, real GDP is estimated to have grown 1.5% in 2002, while inflation increased to 8.4%, up from 6.8% in 2001.

Although hyperinflation in Brazil has ended, and the economy has to a great extent been liberalized, public-solvency indicators deteriorated in the midst of low growth and stalled fiscal reforms in the mid-2000s. President Lula da Silva by 2006 had won market confidence by showing commitment to stability and reform, and improved public-debt ratios, but the tightness of macroeconomic management frustrated industrialists and alienated da Silva's traditional supporters. Brazil uses inflation-targeting as a framework for monetary policy in the context of a floating exchange rate. The central bank has set a target inflation rate of 5.1%, and by 2006, inflation was on the decline. After the trade balance swung back into surplus in 2001 for the first time since 1993, the export to GDP ratio rose further in 2003, to 17.2%, following consecutive years of record export earnings in 200203. Primary products performed strongly by 2005, prompted by robust Chinese demand for soya and iron ore, but exports of manufactures also increased, led by automobiles. Underinvestment, particularly in infrastructure, has led to high costs and inefficiencies in services such as transportation, energy provision, and communications. Construction, which accounts for two-thirds of investment, was weak in 2005, partly because of high interest rates. There is also a heavy corporate tax burden. In 2004, the economy grew by 4.9%. Growth was likely to slow to 3% in 2005 before picking up again in 2006. Real GDP growth averaged 2.6% from 200004. Inflation averaged 8.7% during that period. Brazil was the world's 14th largest economy in 2004, according to the World Bank.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Brazil's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $1.6 trillion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $8,500. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 2.6%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 6.8%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 10% of GDP, industry 39.4%, and services 50.6%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $2.821 billion or about $16 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.6% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $296 million or about $2 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.1% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Brazil totaled $291.57 billion or about $1,647 per capita based on a GDP of $505.7 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.4%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 22% of household consumption was spent on food, 18% on fuel, 15% on health care, and 34% on education. It was estimated that in 1998 about 22.0% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


In 2005, Brazil had an estimated work force of 90.41 million. In 2003, it was estimated that 20% were engaged in agriculture, 66% in services, and 14% in industry. As of 2005, an estimated 9.9% of the workforce was unemployed.

The law provides for union representation of all workers except the military, uniformed police, and firemen. Union financing depends largely on a mandatory tax administered by the government, which applies to nearly all workers and employers. The number of strikes has decreased in recent years, with 1,250 strikes recorded in 1996 compared to 84 in the year 2000. Union organizers, especially in rural areas, continue to be violently harassed and even killed. About 16% of Brazil's workforce is unionized. However, most workers in the informal economy, including those not registered with the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MLE) and those who are self-employed, remain outside of the union structure. Around 50% of the country's labor force worked in the informal sector, while the percentage was even higher in the agricultural sector, where 70% were unregistred with the MLE.

Brazilian law limits the workweek to 44 hours, with a weekly rest period of 24 consecutive hours. Excessive compulsory overtime is prohibited with overtime hours at time-and-a-half rate of pay. The minimum wage is adjusted annually. In May 2005, the monthly minimum wage was set at us$130. These laws generally apply to workers in the formal economy.

Children under 16 are generally forbidden to work by law except in certain apprentice programs. However, this law is not effectively enforced. Estimates in 2004 put the number of children laborers between the ages of 5 and 17 who were working at 5.1 million.

Although Brazilian law prohibits compulsory or forced labor, forced, even slave labor, continues to be a problem. According to estimates by the International Labor Organization, there were about 25,000 slave laborers in Brazil, most of whom were in the states of Mato Grosso and Para. In addition, unsafe working conditions are prevalent throughout the country.


In 2003, 15% of Brazil's economically active population worked in agriculture, down from 23.3% in 1990. Total arable and permanent crop area comprises 66.5 million hectares (165 million acres). Although agriculture's share of exports has declined relative to industrial goods, the value has continued to increase, so that Brazil in 1977 became the world's second-largest exporter of agricultural products. Except for grain (particularly wheat), of which some 6.3 million tons had to be imported in 2004, Brazil is virtually self-sufficient in food. The growth rates for agriculture as a whole averaged 2.8% during 198090, and 3.2% for 19902000. By 2003, agricultural production was 13.7% higher than during 19992001. In 2003, agriculture accounted for 8% of the total GDP. Export crops are significantin addition to the traditional exports of coffee and cocoa, Brazil is also a major exporter of soybeans and orange juice. In 2004, Brazil ranked sixth in the production of cocoa beans at 169,400 tons, or 4.7% of the world's cocoa bean production. In recent years production has been devastated by the effects of the witches-broom fungus.

The Land Statute Law of 1964 was designed to modify the agrarian structure and increase agricultural output in selected regions over a 20-year period. The law empowered the federal government to expropriate unused or underutilized land by offering indemnification in bonds in the case of large properties and cash payment for smallholdings. In redistributing expropriated lands, priority is given to those who work the land under tenancy, sharecropping, or ordinary labor agreements. Responsibility for implementing the law is divided between the Brazilian Agrarian Reform Institute and the National Institute of Agricultural Development. In October 1984, a law was passed to facilitate the distribution of 43.1 million hectares (106.5 million acres) of state-owned land and nonproductive private estates to 1.4 million peasant families, primarily in the impoverished northeast, through 1989. The formation of cooperatives was encouraged.

Coffee, until 1974 preeminent among export earners, has been declining in importance since the early 1960s, while soybeans, sugarcane, cotton, wheat, and citrus fruits have shown dramatic increases. Brazil led the world in coffee production in 2004, at 2,475,000 tons. Sugarcane production, in which Brazil ranked first in the world in 2004, is grown not only for refined sugar but also as a source of alcohol for fuel, and totaled 410,983,000 tons that year. In 2004, production included 18,256,500 tons of oranges, 24,039,000 tons of cassava, and 211,800 tons of cashews. At 28,500 tons, Brazil was not the world's leading producer of Brazil nuts in 2004it trails Bolivia. Tobacco production in 2004 totaled 928,338 tons, 14% of world production. Agricultural production in 2004 (in millions of tons) was corn, 41.9; soybeans, 42.9; rice, 13.3; wheat, 6.0; and cottonseed, 2.2. Further agricultural reforms have been carried out under the Carta de Brasília of 1967. The Carta included an incentive program for the construction of storage facilities, to permit farmers to hold products off the market in expectation of better prices. Agricultural research in Brazil is conducted by the Agriculture and Cattle Raising Institute of Research. The expansion of power, transportation, and communications systems during the 1970s further contributed to agricultural development.


Brazil is a leading livestock-producing country, and 197,000,000 hectares (487,000,000 acresmore than one-fifth of the total national area) are devoted to open pasture. Since World War I, cattle production has become one of the country's major sources of wealth. Hereford and polled angus are raised in the southern states of Río Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, and Dutch and Jersey cattle supply dairy products in the uplands of Minas Gerais, Río de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Paraná. The humped zebu was first introduced in Minas Gerais, where intense crossbreeding produced the Hindu-Brazil breed that is now most common throughout Brazil because it resists tick fever and heat. There were an estimated 192 million head of cattle in 2004, as compared with an annual average of 147.8 million during 198991 and 116.6 million during 197981.

Hog raising, marked by an improvement in breeds, has doubled since 1935, making Brazil the world's third-largest producer. In 2004 there were an estimated 33 million hogs. Berkshires and Poland Chinas have been introduced in quantity, and, since vegetable oils are increasingly replacing lard, the emphasis is on production of pork, ham, and sausages. Brazil is not a major sheep country, since most of the area is too tropical. The bulk of Brazil's 14.2 million sheep are in Río Grande do Sul. Of the other domestic animals raised commercially in 2004, there were some 9.1 million goats, 5.9 million horses, 1.4 million mules, and some 1.1 billion chickens. Brazil is the world's third-largest exporter of broiler meat.

The government encourages production and seeks more efficient methods of conservation and distribution of meat products. Meat production was 19.1 million tons in 2004, including 7.8 million tons of beef and veal. The dairy industry is most highly developed in the vicinity of large cities. Estimated output of dairy products in 2004 included 23.3 million tons of fresh cow's milk and 1.6 million tons of eggs.

During the years of high inflation, ranchers and farmers looked at their herds and land as assets whose value increased in line with inflation and were less challenged to make investments and increase productivity. With inflation now under control, cattle prices have remained fairly stable, and some meat packers have started turning to the export market.


Although Brazil has a seacoast of some 7,400 km (4,600 mi) and excellent fishing grounds off the South Atlantic coast, the nation has never fully utilized its commercial potential. Traditionally, fishing has been carried on by small groups of individual fishermen using primitive techniques and equipment and seldom venturing out of sight of land. Lack of storage facilities, canneries, and adequate methods of distribution have limited the supply and led to the importation of dried fish. Swordfish is caught in large quantities off the coast of Paraíba and Río Grande do Norte, and shrimp is caught and dried along the coasts of Maranhão, Ceará, and Bahia. The fish resources of the Amazon River are not exploited, except for the commercial processing of the pirarucú and an aquatic mammal, the sea cow. The annual fish catch is so modest that there has traditionally been a scarcity during Holy Week, about the only time when Brazilians eat much fish. The total catch in 2003 was 1,086,504 tons, 36% from inland waters. Exports of fish products were valued at $419.1 million in 2003. Small quantities of lobster are exported.

A fisheries development agency was established in the early 1970s to exploit Brazil's coastal potential. The discovery of large quantities of tuna off the coast of Río Grande do Sul has interested foreign fishing companies, and Japanese and US concerns have obtained the right to fish in Brazilian waters and to establish storage and canning facilities. Normally, foreign fishing rights are reserved to the Portuguese. Aquacultural production consists primarily of carp and tilapia.


Over 50% of South America's forests and woodlands are in Brazil, with an estimated 412 million hectares (1,018 million acres). Sylvan areas in Brazil are nearly three-quarters as large as the forests of all African nations combined. Brazil's forests cover 49% of the country's land area and are among the richest in the world, yielding timber, oil-bearing fruits, gums, resins, waxes, essential oils, cellulose, fibers, nuts, maté, and other products. The Amazon region contains almost 80% of the national forest resources. In the rain forest, as many as 3,000 different species per sq mi (2.6 sq km) may coexist. However, only a limited percentage of forestland is being exploited, in part because of a lack of adequate transportation. Commercial tropical hardwood forests covered 238,000 hectares (588,000 acres) in 2005, or about 58% of the forested area. Brazil accounts for 20% of the world's tropical hardwood resources and is one of the leading producers of tropical hardwood products. Brazilian timber is of fine quality, ranging from wood as light as cork to the wood of the Brazilian pepper tree, with a density one and one-half times that of water. By 1991, rapid deforestation during the previous 30 years in the Amazon (from migration, road building, mining, and tax incentives) had caused the rain forest to shrink by an estimated 8.5% since colonial times. However, the annual rate of deforestation in the 1990s was 0.4%. Government incentives for reforestation projects ended in 1986. Most reforestation is carried out by private companies. The average annual reforested area in Brazil during 19992004 was 150,000 hectares (371,000 acres). The hardwood trees of the Amazon rain forest are of excellent quality, but because of a thriving domestic furniture industry, they are used mainly locally; furniture manufacturing is responsible for 40% of the wood consumption in Brazil. The Paraná pine (Araucaria angustifolia) is in greatest demand. It grows in the southern states in stands that comprise about 420 million trees. A Brazilian ban on log exports has focused exports on value-added products (mostly lumber, plywood, hardboard, and veneers). Policies to develop forest resources have changed recently, and the utilization of native species has become very restricted, mainly in the southern region. In July 2004 the government lifted the prohibition on exports of mahogany and other Amazon species such as virola and imbuia, but these exports are under rigid control.

Production of roundwood in 2003 was estimated at 238.5 million cu m (8.4 billion cu ft). Production of paper and woodpulp has expanded considerably since 1975; exports of paper intensified between 1981 and 2000, from 337,000 tons to 1,815,000 tons. Production amounts in 2004 included 31.8 million cu m (11.2 billion cu ft) of tropical hardwood logs and 8.4 million cu m (20.6 million cu ft) of softwood lumber. The total value of Brazilian forest product exports in 2003 reached $2.7 billion, with the United States, Belgium, and China as the primary markets. The Amazon region accounted for 40% of the total Brazilian exports of wood products, while the rest of Brazil accounted for 60% (of which Paraná represented 20%). Exports of plywood in 2003 totaled 1.3 million cu m (3.2 million cu ft), with 47% going to the European Union, 39% for the United States, 4% for the Dominican Republic, and 10% going to other markets.

Brazil's production of rubber in 2004 was 55,000 tons; the natural rubber industry, once a world leader, was dealt a strong blow by the development of cheaper synthetics. Forest products like rubber, Brazil nuts, cashews, waxes, and fibers now come from plantations and no longer from wild forest trees as in earlier days. Maté, derived from a species of South American holly, is steeped to make a popular form of tea. Production totaled 560,000 tons in 2004.


Brazil was Latin America's leading producer of iron ore, manganese, aluminum, cement, ferroalloys (ranking third in the world), tin (fourth in the world), gold (sixth in the world), and steel (eighth in the world), and produced 92.4% of the world's columbium, whose deposits contained 90% of the world's pyrochlore reserves. Brazil continued to be one of the world's largest gemstones producers and exporters, and the only source of imperial topaz and Paraiacuteba tourmaline. Iron ore was Brazil's second-leading export commodity in 2002, and production of cement, iron ore, tin, and steel were among its top eight industries. Brazil's 19,500 million tons of iron ore reserves ranked it sixth in the world, and recent discoveries of platinum indicated that Brazil could have half the world's reserves. Brazil produced 72 mineral commodities22 metal, 46 industrial, and 4 fuelincluding large deposits of the metals alumina, bauxite, beryllium, chromium, columbium (niobium), copper, lead, nickel, silver, tantalum, thorium, titanium, zinc, and zirconium; of the industrial minerals anhydrite, asbestos, bentonite, diamond, dolomite, fluorite, fluorspar, graphite, gypsum, kaolin (4,000 million tons of reserves, 28.2% of world total), limestone, magnesite (630 million tons of resources with 180 million tons of magnesium content identified), marble, mica, phosphate rock, potash, potassium, prophyllite, quartz (crude, common, crystal, and powder, reserves of 53 million tons), marine salt, rock salt, and talc; and of the fuel mineral coal. In 2000, Brazil also produced sizable quantities of cobalt, tungsten, barite, basalt, calcite, hydraulic cement, diatomite, feldspar, gneiss, granite, kyanite, lime, lithium, nitrogen, mineral pigments, quartzite, industrial sand, calcareous shells, silica, slate, caustic soda, soda ash, sulfur (Frasch and pyrites), and vermiculite.

Brazil's economy was the world's eighth-largest and the largest in Latin America, making up one-third of the region's economy. However, GDP fell in 2003 by 0.2% versus growth of 1.5% in 2002. The mineral-based industries accounted for $38 billion or 8.4% of Brazil's GDP in 2003. Mineral production, including gas and crude oil, came to nearly $13 billion, or around 2.8% of GDP. In 2003, Brazil's workforce was almost 80 million, of this total, about 5% or 960,000 were employed by the minerals sector, not including nearly 650,000 active garimpeiros (independent miners).

Gross iron ore and concentrate output for 2003 was 234,478,000 tons. Eight firms accounted for 96% of iron ore production, with CVRD accounting for 48%. The second-largest producer, Mineraccedilotildees Brasileiras Reunidas S/A (MBR), opened three new mines, Capatildeo Xavier, Tamanduacutea, and Capitatildeo do Mato, in Minas Gerais, to increase capacity to 32 million tons per year by 2004 and to offset depletion at the Aguas Claras and Matuca mines.

In 2003, an estimated 2.5 million metric tons in gross weight of marketable manganese ore and concentrate were mined. Brazil's output of mined tin in 2003 was estimated at 12,000 metric tons.

Major deposits of high-quality bauxite have been discovered in the Amazon region. As a result, output has risen rapidly, from 6.5 million metric tons in 1987, to 13,147,900 metric tons in 2003.

Brazil in 2003 produced 41,300 metric tons of pyrochlore in concentrates, 24,875 tons of columbium in alloys, and 5,064 tons of columbium in oxides from two open pitsAraxa; (Minas Gerais) and Cataleo and Ouvidor (Goias). The two columbium producers, Mineracao Catalao de Goias Ltda. (MCGL) and Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineracao (CBMM), had capacities of 65,000 tons per year pyrochlore and 1.9 million tons per year columbium ore. Tantalum production totaled 249 tons in 2003, and increased world demand was expected to maintain an upward trend.

Diamonds, along with other precious and semiprecious stones, were mined primarily in Minas Gerais, Goias, and Bahia. Other gemstones, found throughout the country, were emerald, aquamarine, amethyst, citrine, chrysoberyl, opal, topaz, agate, tourmaline, ruby, and sapphire. In 2003, total estimated yield was 500,000 carats of gem-quality diamond (up from 100,000 in 1998) and an estimated 600,000 carats of industrial diamond. Fewer garimpeiros and increased environmental restrictions have caused a decline in production. Despite government closure of high-content gem placers and high taxes on domestic sales of jewelry, Brazil had great potential, with its 600 million cu m of sedimentary rocks containing diamond grading between 0.01 and 0.1 carat per cu m (15 million carats), which represented 1.2% of the world's diamond reserve base. Belgium received 95% of the uncut stones.

Gold production was estimated at 39,400 kg in 2003, including 5,000 garimpeiros. Deposits found at Serra Pelada in 1980 raised gold production to 103,000 kg by 1989; production averaged 90,380 kg in 198791, and output in 1996 was 60,011. Higher production costs, depletion of shallower deposits, lower world prices, and much higher environmental standards caused the drop-offs. Gold output could increase significantly with the growth of copper production and increased interest by domestic and foreign investors in largely unexplored areas; more than 2000 gold occurrences were known, mostly Precambrian vein deposits and alluvial placers.

The discovery of gold in Minas Gerais (general mines) in 1693 made Brazil the world's leading gold producer; rapid exploitation under the Portuguese colonial system exhausted the mines in less than a century. The dissipation of the nation's gold wealth for the benefit of a foreign power, instilled in Brazilians a protective attitude toward mineral reserves, resulting in government control. The 1988 constitution forbade foreign majority participation in direct mining operations. Lack of capital has long restricted development by domestic firms, and Brazilian mining laws and adverse geographic conditions have discouraged foreign capital. The major portion of the mineral industry was partially or wholly owned by private Brazilian investors, Brazilian corporations, and/or foreign companies, the exceptions being the natural gas and petroleum industries. The structure of the industry continued to change to a privately owned/government-regulated regime. Two 1995 constitutional amendments opened the way for participation of the private sector (domestic and foreign), through privatization, joint ventures, and deregulated investment, in the sectors of coastal and river shipping, mining, natural gas, petroleum, telecommunications, and transportation. By the mid-1990s, investment was on the rise, as a result of aggressive economic policies, the diversity of mineral resources, and the constitutional reform that eliminated restrictions on foreign investment in mining. In 2000, the import tax for minerals was reduced, with varying rates, and the export tax would no longer apply to exported mineral products, nor would the tax on industrialized products apply to mining activities.


In 2001 drought created an energy crisis in Brazil, which is strongly dependent on hydroelectric power and also the third-largest consumer of electricity in the Western Hemisphere. As of 2002 the country's per capita energy consumption was equal to that of all other South and Central American countries combined. From June 2001 through March 2002, power was rationed allowing the country to avoid rolling blackouts. Brazil is one of the world's leading producers of hydropower.

Total installed electrical capacity increased from 4.8 million kW in 1960 to 8.5 million kW in 1968 and to 73.4 million kW in 2001. In 2003, installed capacity stood at 82.5 GW. Production for 2000 was 339.5 billion kWh, of which hydropower contributed 89%. By 2003, production increased to 359.2 billion kWh. Consumption of electricity in 2000 was 360.6 billion kWh, which increased to 371.4 billion kWh in 2003. Hydroelectric power accounted for 84% of the nation's electric power in 2003, at 302.9 billion kWh. Construction of the Itaipu Dam on the Paraná River took place between 1975 and 1982; this joint Brazilian-Paraguayan project, the world's largest hydroelectric plant, attained its full capacity of 12.6 million kW in 1986, at a cost of $15 billion. About 70% of Brazil's population is served by Itaipu, which generates about 75 billion kWh per year. Each of Brazil's nine turbines (Paraguay controls the other nine) at Itaipu has a capacity of 700,000 kW, which can be transmitted up to 1,000 km (620 mi) away. Brazil regularly purchases a large portion of Paraguay's half of its Itaipu electricity production. Conventional thermal generation in 2003 accounted for only 7.4% of Brazil's total supply of electricity. Nuclear power is provided by two plants: Angra-1 (630 MW) and Angra-2 (1,350 MW). A decision to complete an unfinished third facility, Angra-3, was promised to have been made before the end of 2005. Angra11, began operations in May 1985. It was followed by Angra-2, which took 23 years and $10 billion to complete and became operational in 2000. As of 2002, it was estimated that five more years would be needed to finish Angra-3 and bring it online. Nuclear generation of electricity accounted for 13.840 billion kWh in 2002, or 4% of production for that year. Estimates of uranium reserves were put at 163,000 tons in 1991, the fifth-largest in the world.

Brazil's proven oil reserves, according to the Oil and Gas Journal, are estimated to total 10.6 billion barrels, as of 1 January 2005, making the country second only in South America to Venezuela in the size of its proven reserves. The government-owned Petróleo Brasileiros (Petrobrás), established in 1953, formerly had a monopoly over the exploration and development of petroleum reserves. The 1988 constitution guaranteed the maintenance of state monopolies in the petroleum and electricity sectors, despite rampant privatization. In 1995, however, Brazil's Congress and Senate approved a constitutional amendment ending the government's oil monopoly, and allowing foreign companies to drill, prospect, import, export, refine, and transport oil. The government was to maintain at least 50% of Petrobrás' voting shares, plus one. In August 2000 the government sold a 29% stake in the company but remained the majority shareholder. Brazil's government hopes to raise large amounts of money and attract foreign investment through the privatization of the oil sector, in order to pay off the national debt.

Foreign participation and investment had been forbidden by Brazilian law. However, in the mid-1970s, exploration was opened to foreign companies through risk contracts, and the petrochemicals industry was opened to foreign participation. The National Petroleum Agency (ANP), created in 1997, is charged with opening up the oil industry to both foreign and domestic private interests. By 2004, estimated production totaled 1.8 million barrels per day. However, at 2.2 million barrels per day, consumption still outstripped production, and oil imports were necessary, mostly from Argentina and Venezuela. As of 2002 Brazil had 13 crude oil refineries.

Estimated production of natural gas in 2003 production was reported at 310 billion cu ft. As of 1 January 2005, proven reserves of natural gas were estimated at 8.8 trillion cu ft. In 1975, the government initiated a program to develop alcohol from sugarcane as an energy source. In the 1980s, 80% of the country's cars and light vehicles were powered by alcohol, although slumping oil prices and persistent financial problems within the alcohol industry prompted the government to freeze production at the 1985 level of 11.1 billion liters (2.9 billion gallons). By 1995, the production of gasoline-powered vehicles had shifted to 95% from the almost entirely alcohol-powered production of 1989. Alcohol still has an important function to maintain diverse sources of fuel for the transportation sector. Most transportation fuel sold in Brazil is a mixture of 22% ethanol and 78% gasoline. As of 1999, Brazil produced 200,000 barrels per day of ethanol.

The absence of good coking coal is a handicap to industrial plans, and Brazil must import coal for its steel industry. As of 2002 it was estimated that coal imports could double within the following ten years. Coal consumption in 2002 was estimated at 22.09 million tons.


Major industries include iron and steel production, automobile assembly, petroleum processing, chemicals production, and cement making; technologically based industries have been the most dynamic in recent years, but have not outpaced traditional industries. Peak industrial growth was achieved in 1973, when the manufacturing sector grew by 15.8%; growth rates averaging about 7% were posted during 197880, rising to 8.3% in 1985 and 11.3% in 1986. Growth slowed significantly during the 1990s. According to the Brazilian Statistical Institute (IBGE), manufacturing rose an annual average of only 0.7% between 1988 and 1998. Growth in 2002 was particularly pronounced in the construction industry, but by 2005 high interest rates had put a drag on construction. The industrial production rate was estimated at 6% in 2004.

In 1969, 3.7 million metric tons of crude steel were produced; by 1985, this had reached 20.5 million metric tons. In 2004, crude steel production amounted to 32.9 million metric tons, making Brazil the eighth-largest steel producer in the world, just ahead of India. Vast reserves of accessible, high-grade ore, plus rapidly expanding domestic and foreign demand for these products, favor continued expansion of the steel industry. By 2006, China had become a key market for Brazilian steel. The major negative factor is lack of domestic soft coal. Companhia Vale do Río Doce (CVRD) is the world's largest producer of iron ore and pellets and the largest Brazilian mining company, responsible for more than 30% of the iron ore transoceanic market share of Brazil. It is the country's largest investor, responsible for 14% of all Brazilian trade.

Motor vehicle production, Brazil's industrial backbone, experienced a drop of nearly 27% from 1998 to 1999 because of the country's financial difficulties. Production of automobiles went from about 2 million units in 1997, down to 1.6 million units in 1998. In 2001, Brazil produced 1.8 million automobiles, an increase of 7% over 2000. In 2000, the country produced more than 70,000 heavy trucks, an increase of 27% over 1999. In 2005, approximately 2.3 million vehicles were produced in Brazil. Thirty percent of all automobiles produced in Brazil are exported to Mexico. The automobile industry is expanding rapidly with major sources of foreign investment and the construction of new manufacturing plants.

Brazil mines and refines petroleum products. Because of increased domestic refining capacity during the 1970s, imports of petroleum products were less needed, and by 1979, Brazil was a net exporter of petroleum derivatives. Brazil's petrochemical industry emphasizes the production of synthetic rubber. There are also over 500 pharmaceutical laboratories and plants in Brazil, the majority in São Paulo. Over 80% of the industry is foreign-owned. Increased construction demands boosted Brazil's cement production during the 1980s and 1990s. Brazil's electrical equipment industry manufactures computers, television sets, transistor radios, refrigerators, air conditioners, and many other appliances. Brazil has the largest textile industry in South America in terms of installed capacity and output, with nearly half of the spindles and looms in operation on the continent. The manufacture of footwear is an important industry. The Brazilian pulp and paper sector is also large, consisting of more than 220 companies, which together employ approximately 80,000 people in industrial operations, as well as another 57,000 in forestry work and operations. The pulp and paper sector is almost fully privately-owned. The government allowed foreign investment in vital industries since 1995, and supports the sale of any residual parastatal enterprises.


The National Council of Scientific and Technological Development, created in 1951 and headquartered in Brasília, formulates and coordinates Brazil's scientific and technological policies. The Brazilian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1916 is headquartered in Río de Janeiro. In 1996, there were 25 specialized learned societies and 52 research institutes covering virtually every area of scientific and technological endeavor. Among the most important scientific institutions are the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation for biological research in Río de Janeiro and the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, which produces serums for the bites of venomous snakes, a field in which Brazil leads the world. Government expenditures on research and development (R&D) in 2000 amounted to $13.078 billion or 1% of GDP. In that same year, Brazil had 352 researchers and 339 technicians actively engaged in R&D per million people. Government spending in 2002 accounted for 60.2% of R&D expenditures, while business accounted for 38.2% and higher education 1.6%. Brazilian high technology exports in 2002 totaled $6.007 billion, or 19% of the country's manufactured exports.

Brazil entered the space age in 1973, with the launching of the SONDA II rocket as part of a program to determine electron density in the low ionosphere, a question of practical importance for aircraft navigation. Under the government's Amazon development program, Humboldt City, a scientific and technological center, has been established in Mato Grosso. Atomic research is conducted at the Energetics and Nuclear Research Institute of São Paulo; other research reactors are located at Belo Horizonte and Río de Janeiro. The Nuclear Energy Center for Agriculture was established in 1966. A total of us$550 million was allocated to the nuclear energy program under the 197579 development plan, but the program languished in the 1980s.

In 1996, Brazil had approximately 100 universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied science. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 27% of college and university enrollments.


Río de Janeiro and São Paulo are the principal distribution centers; the largest numbers of importers, sales agents, and distributors are located in these cities, having branch offices in other areas. Other major commercial centers are Recife and Pôrto Alegre, in the northeast and the south; Belém, which serves as a distribution center for the whole Amazon River Valley; and Salvador, which is the main distribution center for Bahia and the neighboring states.

The Brazilian commercial code permits the exercise of trade by all persons who make trade their habitual occupation and register with the appropriate government body. Goods are sold in department stores, in specialty shops, by street vendors, and in supermarkets in the larger cities, but most commercial establishments have fewer than six employees. There are a number of consumer cooperatives that are generally sponsored by ministries, trade unions, and social security institutes. Producer cooperatives are found mostly in agriculture and fishing. The franchising sector by 2006 was booming: franchising accounts for about 25% of the retail revenues. There are some 800 franchise chains and 56,000 franchise units in Brazil, which generate more than 350,000 jobs. Credit is extended to higher-income customers on open accounts and to lower-income groups on installment payment plans. Since 1994, the government has enacted constitutional reforms to remove obstacles for privatization and foreign investment.

Business hours are from 8 or 8:30 am to 5 or 6 pm, Monday through Friday, with a two-hour lunch period from 12 to 2 pm. Banks transact business from 10 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Shopping hours are from 9 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday, and from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. Stores are usually closed on Sundays. Department stores are open from 10 am to 10 pm, Monday through Saturday. In many smaller cities and towns, stores are closed for over an hour at lunchtime.

Since 1947, the advertising sector (in all the various media) has increased its expenditures many times over. Most advertising agencies maintain headquarters in São Paulo; some major agencies have branch offices in other large cities. Advertisements are presented on television and on all radio stations, with the exception of the special broadcasting system of the Ministry of Education. Newspapers, magazines, periodicals, motion pictures, billboards, posters, and electric signs are used for advertising. Mobile advertising units equipped with loudspeaker systems are common in the larger cities.


Brazil's long-favorable foreign-trade balance deteriorated substantially between 1958 and 1974 as a result of industrial expansion, which necessitated increased imports of industrial capital goods and petroleum. During 1975/76 and again from 1978 to 1982, the foreign-trade balance was in deficit. Beginning in 1983, Brazil recorded trade surpluses: $5.1 billion in 1983, $11.8 billion in 1984, and $11.3 billion in 1985. This achievement was the result of policies that restricted imports and offered substantial incentives to exporters.

Between 1963 and 1981, exports expanded at an average annual rate of 17%, but they grew by only 9.1% between 1982 and 1985. Coffee has long been Brazil's dominant export, but the proportion

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 73,084.1 50,824.3 22,259.8
United States 16,901.0 10,166.3 6,734.7
Argentina 4,561.1 4,949.5 -388.4
China 4,532.6 2,330.9 2,201.7
Netherlands 4,245.7 532.7 3,713.0
Germany 3,135.8 4,374.6 -1,238.8
Mexico 2,741.3 563.2 2,178.1
Japan 2,310.5 2,634.4 -323.9
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 2,207.5 1,828.3 379.2
United Kingdom 1,898.8 1,250.9 647.9
Chile 1,880.3 848.9 1,031.4
() data not available or not significant.

of its export earnings declined from 41.3% in 1968 to 3.2% in 2000. As a result of an ambitious energy development program, Brazil's reliance on imported oil dropped from 70% of its needs in 1980 to 45% in 1985.

The notable accomplishment of former President Fernado Collor de Mello to open the Brazilian market remains the cornerstone of Brazil's economic and trade policies. However, after almost 30 years of import substitution, which initially brought high growth and short-term industrialization in the 1960s1970s, this policy was finally recognized in the late 1980s as the principal culprit of Brazil's economic woes, particularly high inflation and industrial decline.

By the early 2000s, most of Brazil's nontariff barriers to trade, which for many years were the hallmark of Brazil's restrictive trade regime, were eliminated or drastically reduced. Import duties were reduced from an average of about 50% in the late 1980s to 14.2% and a maximum of 35%. While the overall level and pervasiveness of nontariff barriers have been drastically reduced, some import duties remain high in comparison with other countries. While the depression/inflation problems of the late 1990s reduced purchasing power by about 50% among the working and lower middle classes and further skewed the already highly uneven distribution of income, the Brazilian market remains enormously attractive to US businesses.

Although trade barriers continued to recede with the government of former President Itamar Franco who assumed office in 1992, trade liberalization lost some of its momentum, and there were serious concerns regarding automobile, telecommunications, and information technology sectors. The reforms gained new momentum under the administration of the next president, Cardoso.

In 1995, Brazil joined with Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay to form the Mercosur common market, made up of 200 million people worth over $1 trillion. The agreement covered tariffs for over 85% of some 9,000 items with the remaining 15% to be covered by 2003 and complete coverage to be achieved by 2006. Brazil has an almost symbiotic relationship with Argentina, in which the latter supplies natural gas, automobiles, and other products; while the former exports steel, shoes, and paper products.

In 1999, Argentina implemented trade restrictions on certain Brazilian products because prices were ridiculously low from the currency devaluation. Brazil replied by putting its own trade barriers in place. Such measures did not bode well for the Mercosur community. Argentina had been in recession for several years, and the global economic slowdown, which began in 2001 further, worsened Mercosur's situation. In addition, Brazil has had considerable problems with its electrical distribution system, forcing the rationing of electricity and complicating production.

By 2006, Brazil and other members of the G-20 group of developing nations had called the most recent trade concessions from the United States and the European Union insufficient. The group was pressing for deeper cuts in farm subsidies. At the same time, Brazil found itself in a separate trade dispute with the United States, after accusing it of failing to obey a WTO ruling outlawing some of its cotton policies. The United States threatened to remove trade preferences worth more than $2 billion if Brazil insisted on asking the WTO for the right to impose $1 billion in sanctions on American goods.

The most popular export commodities from Brazil are road vehicles, iron, and steel. Brazil also exports footwear and textiles. The country exports a substantial amount of iron ore, soybeans, meat, and coffee. Productivity gains, especially in agriculture, have contributed to a surge in exports. Brazil imports machinery, electrical and transportation equipment, chemical products, and oil.

Brazil's leading markets in 2004 were the United States (21.1% of all exports), Argentina (7.6%), the Netherlands (6.1%), and China (5.6%). Leading suppliers included the United States (18.3% of all imports), Argentina (8.9%), Germany (8.1%), and China (5.9%).


After a decline in the mid-1960s, Brazil's reserve holdings grew spectacularly, reaching $6.5 billion by 1974. The prime reason was a steadily rising inflow of long-term capital investment, coupled

Current Account 4,016.0
   Balance on goods 24,801.0
     Imports -48,283.0
     Exports 73,084.0
   Balance on services -5,100.0
   Balance on income -18,552.0
   Current transfers 2,867.0
Capital Account 498.0
Financial Account -164.0
   Direct investment abroad -249.0
   Direct investment in Brazil 10,144.0
   Portfolio investment assets 179.0
   Portfolio investment liabilities 5,129.0
   Financial derivatives -151.0
   Other investment assets -6,284.0
   Other investment liabilities -5,731.0
Net Errors and Omissions -764.0
Reserves and Related Items -3,586.0
() data not available or not significant.

with trade balances that were favorable or only minimally unfavorable. In 1974, however, a decline in the value of coffee exports and a doubling of import costs (partly attributable to increased oil prices) more than offset a further rise in capital investment, resulting in Brazil's first payments deficit in nearly a decade. Between 1976 and 1978, Brazil had a positive balance of payments, but large deficits were registered in 1979 and 1980. A surplus was achieved in 1981, in part because of Brazil's excellent trade showing. The surpluses in 1984 and 1985 were sufficient to pay all interest on the foreign debt.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, Brazil increasingly came to rely on international borrowing to meet its financing needs. The foreign debt grew rapidly after 1974 as the government pressed for continued economic growth without regard for balance of payments pressures generated by the oil shocks of the later 1970s and without increasing domestic savings or improving the tax base. The huge trade surpluses of 1984 and 1985 halted the upward trend. However, the 1986 surge in consumer spending drained reserves to such an extent that by early 1987, the government was forced to suspend payments on $68 billion of the estimated $108 billion debt, the highest of any developing nation. An agreement was reached in April 1991 on 198990 arrears. In 1992, Brazil and the advisory committee representing foreign commercial banks agreed to a debt and debt service reduction for $44 billion. Under the Real Plan, the balance of payments dropped from a surplus of $10.5 billion in 1994 to a deficit of $3.1 billion in 1995, -$5.5 billion in 1996, and -$8.4 billion in 1997. This transformation in Brazil's trade position was due to an overvalued exchange rate, market opening, and suppressed demand for capital and consumer goods. A devaluation of the currency in 1999 led to a reduction of the trade deficit in 1999 and in 2000.

The period of high net capital inflows and currency strength came to an end in 2001. Import compression in 200203, and an increase in export earnings after 2003, brought about a large adjustment on the current accounts: the trade surplus ballooned from $2.7 billion in 2001 to $33.7 billion in 2004, which transformed the current account from a deficit of 4.6% of GDP in 2001 to a surplus of 1.9% of GDP in 2004. In the first half of 2005, the trade surplus continued to grow.


A banking reform enacted in December 1964 provided for the establishment of the Central Bank of the Republic of Brazil (changed in 1967 to the Central Bank of Brazil), with powers to regulate the banking system and the stock market. The Central Bank serves as the financial agent of the federal government and functions as a depository for the reserves of private banks. The reform also created the National Monetary Council, which formulates monetary policies for the Central Bank.

The Bank of Brazil primarily finances projects in the agricultural sector. The National Economic and Bank (BNDES) provides long-term financing and administers the privatization program.

There once were about 340 commercial banks in Brazil, with hundreds of branch offices. However, banking reforms reduced that number to 233 in 1998. The largest banks are the federal banks Bank of Brazil, the Federal Savings Bank, and BNDS; private banks Bradesco, Itau, Unibanco, Safra, and Banespa; the Real Bank, and the state bank of Río Grande do Sul, Banrisul. Since January 1994, banks and other financial institutions must publish constant-currency financial statements. The major banks are considered to be sophisticated and competitive, many operating online, and offer a broad range of financial services.

The 1996 rise in international reserves and the fall of the dollar against the real falsely portrayed an improvement in the financial market. In an attempt to calm the financial markets' worries about exchange rate risk, the government began issuing bonds indexed to the exchange rate. The bonds were supposed to be a guarantee that exchange rate policy was not going to change. The Central Bank curbed the expansion of the monetary base, thus controlling inflation, while the volume of money controlled by banks increased with the initial relaxation of credit. This enlarged monetary base, which included the stock of federal bonds and deposits at the Central Bank, rose at a faster rate than nominal GDP. At the end of 1996, the enlarged monetary base was equivalent to 23% of GDP compared with 18% of GDP at the end of 1995. The expansion of monetary aggregates resulted from the rise in public debt through bond financing of the fiscal deficit. The relaxation of credit policy after the end of 1995 caused borrowers to overdraw, resulting in liquidity problems during 1996 and 1997. This presented a precarious situation for the Brazilian economy, especially when the 1998 financial crisis occurred. The Central Bank decided to let the real float in relation to the US dollar, severely depreciating the value of the real by about 45%; and the bonds that were supposed to have guaranteed a fixed exchange rate were also devalued. These issues led to a number of bank mergers and closures in 1999 and 2000. The 2001 collapse of the Argentine economy forced down the value of Brazil's currency, although it has since recovered somewhat. An energy crisis has also caused some trouble in the Brazilian economy, leading to and overall downturn in 2002. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $35.4 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $149.3 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 17.47%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 21.43%.

Brazil opened its market to foreign portfolio investment in 1991. Brazilian tax laws provide incentives for investment in stocks and bonds. Profit and dividend remittances are subject to a 15% income withholding tax. Up to 24% of individual tax liability may be invested annually in share certificates from authorized financial institutions. Furthermore, individuals may deduct from gross income up to 42% of capital subscription in companies or agencies involved in developing the northeastern or Amazon regions, up to 25% of amounts invested in open capital companies, up to 20% of investments in approved forestation or reforestation projects, up to 13.5% of investments in mutual funds, and up to 4% of savings under the National Housing System. Earnings from all the above investments are also excluded from gross income, up to certain limits. The stock market is a source of financing for all listed companies in Brazil, regardless of ownership. All public issues require the approval of the Securities Commission (CVM). There are nine regional stock exchanges, although over 90% of transactions are carried out in São Paulo and Río de Janeiro. In 2004, there were 357 companies listed on the São Paulo exchange. As of December 2004, the total market capitalization of the São Paulo Stock Exchange was $330.347 billion, up from $234.560 billion in 2003. In 2004 the IBOVESPA Index rose 17.8% from the previous year, ending at 26,196.3.


Brazil has a low rate of insurance compared to developed countries. 2.3% of its GDP in 2001 was insurance compared to an average of 7% in most developed countries. The operations of insurance companies in Brazil are supervised by the Superintendency of Private Insurance (SUSEPO), the National Private Insurance Council (CNSP), and the Institute of Reinsurance of Brazil (IRB), a company which is 50% owned by the government and 50% by the insurance companies operating in Brazil. The IRB was privatized in the second half of 2000. Motor-vehicle third-party liability, workers' compensation, fire, cargo/truck, and inland marine insurance are compulsory.

With the lifting of restrictions on foreign insurance companies operating in Brazil, several companies made major investments in the market during 1997 and 1998. The United States is the top investor, with 40% of the market. Nearly half of the insurance policies are sold in the city of São Paulo.

The Brazilian insurance market is characterized by two large groups of insurance companies. The top five groups occupied approximately 50% of the insurance market, including Sul America, Bradesco, Itau Porto Seguro, and American International Group (AIG-Unibanco). The balance of the market is shared among approximately 80 additional groups. As of 2003, direct premiums written totaled $14.565 billion, with nonlife premiums accounting for the largest portion at $8.259 billion. Bradesco and Bradesco Vida were Brazil's top nonlife and life insurers with gross nonlife (including healthcare) and gross life premiums written in 2003 of $663.2 million and 1,953.6 million, respectively.


The Brazilian fiscal year coincides with the calendar year. The budget, prepared under the supervision of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Coordination, represents the government's plans for financing administrative operations and capital expenditures. Budgetary deficits increased considerably in the 1960s. The government's objectiveto hold total expenditures fairly constant while raising the share of capital outlayswas achieved by an austerity policy. Although the federal budget deficit was reduced in real terms during the late 1960s, fiscal problems continued to be a major source of inflationary pressure, with revenues hovering between 14.5% and 16.5% of GNP and total government expenditures in the range of 17.519%. Government revenue increased considerably, and each year the real deficit was reduced below the previous year's level both absolutely and relatively. Public spending was stepped up, particularly transfer payments; transfers of capital to decentralized agencies increased, although direct investment by the central government fell off. Thus, more capital was invested in basic infrastructural projects. Increases in both revenues and expenditures were rapid during the 1970s, but the pattern of decreasing deficits continued. The budgets for 1973 and 1974 actually showed a surplus, although the realized surplus in 1974 fell far short of the budgeted surplus. There was a budget deficit

Revenue and Grants 221,604 100.0%
   Tax revenue 111,086 50.1%
   Social contributions 77,492 35.0%
   Grants 71 0.0%
   Other revenue 38,614 17.4%
Expenditures 245,032 100.0%
   General public services 69,692 28.4%
   Defense 8,542 3.5%
   Public order and safety 7,822 3.2%
   Economic affairs 11,857 4.8%
   Environmental protection
   Housing and community amenities 1,561 0.6%
   Health 15,226 6.2%
   Recreational, culture, and religion 166 0.1%
   Education 15,033 6.1%
   Social protection 115,791 47.3%
() data not available or not significant.

in 1975, but surpluses were recorded annually during 197680. One of the principal causes of Brazil's financial instability in the 1980s was the rate at which public spending exceeded revenues. Following another stabilization program in 1990, a budget surplus of 1.4% of GDP was recorded, but deteriorated to a deficit of 1.7% of GDP by 1992. During the 1990s, the budget remained in deficit by about 4.0% of GDP, but in 1999, the budget recorded a deficit equal to 9.5% of GDP due to the devaluation of the real. This figure had declined to about 4.2% by 2002. Public spending accounts for about one-third of GDP in Brazil.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2004 Brazil's central government took in revenues of approximately $140.6 billion and had expenditures of $172.4 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$31.8 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 50.2% of GDP. Total external debt was $211.4 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 1998, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues in millions of reais were 221,604 and expenditures were 245,032. The value of revenues in millions of US dollars was $190,873 and expenditures $211,619, based on a principal exchange rate for 1998 of 1.161 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 28.4%; defense, 3.5%; public order and safety, 3.2%; economic affairs, 4.8%; housing and community amenities, 0.6%; health, 6.2%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.1%; education, 6.1%; and social protection, 47.3%.


Brazil's tax structure has been modified repeatedly in recent years, and traditional tax evasion has come under strong attack. A series of income tax reforms, during the 1960s and 1970s closed many loopholes and expanded the roster of taxpayers, mainly through wider use of withholding taxes.

The basic income tax rate on corporations and other legal entities in 2005 was 15%, with an added 10% surtax if profits exceed a certain limit. In addition, there is a 9% social contribution tax. Firms may effectively reduce income tax liability by investing part of the tax due in government-approved incentive projects or by purchasing quotas in funds that invest in such projects. Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide income.

Brazil has a progressive personal income tax that rises to 27.5%. Numerous exclusions from ordinary taxable income include profits on sales of shares, profits from certain real estate sales, and interest on stocks and bonds up to certain limits.

A value-added tax is payable on sales and transfers of goods at varying rates in accordance with the nature of the production (generally 1015%). All corporations are subject to a social contribution tax at rates ranging from 8% for corporations to 18% for financial institutions. Other taxes include a financial operations levy; taxes on the production and distribution of minerals, fuels, and electric power; a real estate transfer tax; and municipal service and urban real estate taxes. There is a social security tax of 2%, and from 1020% of employee payroll.


Since the late 1980s, the government has reduced import duties incrementally to encourage trade. Tariffs are based on the MERCOSUR common external tariff, known in Brazil as the TEC. The average applied tariff rate was 13.7% in 2000, down from 32% in 1990. There is an industrial products tax (IPI) that usually ranges from 015%, but goes up to 365% on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages. There is also an ICMS (merchandise and service circulation) tax on goods moved through Brazil, at 18% in São Paulo, and 12% in other Brazilian states. There is also a Social Security product tax that varies by product but is generally around 10%. All imports and exports are controlled by SECEX, the Foreign Trade Secretariat, with the help of the SISCOMEX computer system.

Certain sectors, including petroleum products and weapons, require departmental or ministerial approval for imports. Importers must pay state and federal value-added taxes at ports, but these may be recovered for goods to be manufactured or sold in Brazil. There are eight free trade zones, including the oldest one in Manaus, and others in Macapa/Santana, Tabatinga, Guajaramirim, Bonfim, Paracaima, Brasileia, and Epitaciolandia. These zones and some energy development projects are exempted from import duties, as long as they export at least 90% of production.

Brazil and its MERCOSUR partners implemented a common external tariff in 1995, which increased by 3% in 1997 to 23%, to cover all tariff items by 2006. However, the 3% increase is being phased out.


Brazilian law gives the same protection and guarantees to foreign capital investments that it gives to investments made by Brazilian nationals. Special incentives are offered for investments in mining, fishing, tourism, shipbuilding, and reforestation and for projects undertaken in the northeast and Amazon regions. Brazil's Foreign Capital and Profit Remittance Law of 1962, as amended, regulates the registration of foreign capital and of reinvestment, profit remittance, interest, royalties, and payments for technical assistance, as well as repatriation of foreign capital. There is no limitation on the repatriation of capital; reinvestment of profits is considered an increase of the original capital for the purposes of the law. Prohibitions on remittances for royalty and technical service payments between related parties were removed under the 1992 tax code. The base tax rate on profits and royalty remittances was reduced from 25% to 15%.

In 1995, Brazil amended its constitution to eliminate the distinction between foreign and national capital. Foreign investors have been allowed to trade on the Brazilian stock market since 1991. The petroleum, telecommunications, mining, power generation, and internal transportation sectors were opened up to foreign investment in 1995.

The growth in the attractiveness of Brazil as a recipient of foreign investment is directly attributed to the economic liberalization implemented under finance minister, and later president, Fernando Enrique Cardoso in 1994. He instituted a new currency, reined in the hyperinflation that had plagued the country for decades, and opened up previously closed industries to private ownership. However, although Brazil embarked on the world's largest privatization drive in 1991, by 2002 privatization had virtually stopped. With the exception of the power-generation sector, most of the largest state enterprises have been sold, and thus privatization has died down.

The Cardoso Administration's liberalization provisions saw foreign portfolio investment go from $760 million the year it was enacted to $30 billion in 1997. Foreign direct investment rose from $19 billion in 1997 to $28.9 billion in 1998 and $28.5 billion in 1999, and then to a record $32.8 billion in 2000. Brazil's surplus on its capital account was over $19 billion in 2000, but not quite enough to prevent a balance of payments deficit of $2.3 billion because of a $10.4 billion debt servicing payment on official development assistance (ODA). A plunge in FDI to $22.5 billion in 2001, in the context of the global economic slowdown and worldwide decline in foreign investment after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, presented the Brazilian government with serious difficulties in making its debt servicing obligations. The gap would have to be filled through a combination of IMF loans, foreign borrowing, and sales in shares of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Investment comes mainly from the United States and EU countries. Investment from the Cayman Islands is thought to represent mainly repatriation of Brazilian capital through FDI, but it is also increasingly a conduit for US-based companies. Investment from Spain and Portugal increased in 1998 due to investment in the telecommunications and banking sectors. The stock of FDI in Brazil was $130.7 billion as of December 1998, of which the US share was 30% ($39 billion); Spain, 8.4% ($10.9 billion); and Germany, 8.1% ($10.5 billion). Four US companiesGM, Ford, Texaco, and Exxonwere among Brazil's top ten domestic enterprises. Four of its top ten exporting firms were foreign, all car manufacturersFiat, Ford, GM, and Volkswagenwhile five of its top ten importers were foreign companiesFiat, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and Ericsson Telecommunications.

Since 2001, the trade balance has improved significantly, helping to produce current-account surpluses in 2003 and 2004. This trend enabled Brazil to weather a steep continuing decline in FDI inflows from $22.5 billion in 2001 to $16.6 billion in 2002 and just $10.1 billion in 2003. FDI inflows in 2004 increased to approximately $17 billion. Brazil had undertaken a significant reduction in trade barriers in the early 2000s. In 2004, Brazil's average Normal Trade Relations (NTR) tariff was 10.8%, down from 32% in 1990. However, Brazil has a poorly-structured revenue system marked by heavy tax burdens. The corporate and indirect taxation systems are particularly complex, porous, and unwieldy, but they do not discriminate between foreign and domestic firms.


Economic policy since the late 1960s has had three prime objectives: control of inflation, gradual improvement of the welfare of the poorest sector, and a high economic growth rate. Generally, under the stewardship of finance ministers Roberto de Oliveira Campos and, later, Antonio Delfim Netto (who became minister of planning in 1979), Brazilian policy sought to prevent inflation from eroding economic growth by a process of monetary correctionthat is, by the legal revaluation of fixed assets, such as real estate, debits in arrears, and the face value of bonds, to reflect inflation. This technique, which requires extensive government control over the economy, was intended to prevent inflation from distorting the relative values of various types of holdings. It was also disastrously inflationary.

The central stress of the 197579 development plan was on economic growth. Economic infrastructure (energy, transportation, and communications) received top priority, with a 25% share of the total investment. A special development plan, known as Palomazonia (the Program for Agriculture, Cattle Raising, and Agrominerals for the Amazon), concentrated on expansion of agriculture, forestry, mineral exploitation, and hydroelectric power in the region. The third national plan (198085) placed the greatest emphasis on agricultural development, energy, and social policies. Its main aim was improvement of the public welfare through continued economic growth and more equitable income distribution.

The First National Plan of the New Republic (198689), sought to maintain high levels of economic growth, introduce a wide range of basic institutional and fiscal reform in the public sector, and reduce poverty significantly. When inflation continued to mount, however, the Cruzado Plan was introduced; it froze wages and prices for a year, and introduced a new unit of currency, the cruzado. While inflation did drop dramatically, the ensuing consumer spending boom, caused by the desire to take advantage of the price freeze, rekindled inflation. By 1987, Brazil had reverted to orthodox austerity and monetary correction in an attempt to bring the economy under control.

In 1994, finance minister (and later president) Fernando Enrique Cardoso implemented the Real Plan, an economic liberalization named for the newly launched currency, the real. The plan called for the abolition of state control of wages and all indexing to inflation, lowering of tariffs and barriers to international investment, and a massive selloff of state-owned enterprises in nearly every sector. The plan was almost immediately successful, and attracted huge amounts of international investment while raising the living standards of million of Brazilians. Unfortunately, the 19971998 international financial crisis caused the Central Bank to let the real float, devaluating the currency by 45%. Instead of immediately falling into a recession, the economy reported modest gains in 1999 and 2000. In 2001, however, economic growth slowed, in part due to the raising of interest rates by the Central Bank to counteract inflationary pressures (Brazil's real interest rates remain among the highest in the world). Brazil was also adversely affected by a domestic energy crisis and the 2001 economic crisis in Argentina, and the real depreciated almost 20% that year. Brazil has been the recipient of successive Stand-By Arrangements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The controversial election of the left-wing Workers' Party candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as president in October 2002 brought jitters to international financial markets, but as of 2006, investors had been impressed with the president's tight fiscal and monetary policies.

Brazil is on the path toward a new development strategy, that of export substitution, which, it is hoped, will allow local government to address Brazil's severe problem of unequal income distribution. As of 2006, the government was committed to structural reforms and tight fiscal management to increase economic efficiency and reduce the fiscal debt. It was running a primary fiscal surplus (excluding interest payments) of more than 4% of GDP in 2005; however, government debt remains high, at 51% of GDP in 2004. Brazil uses inflation-targeting as a framework for monetary policy in the context of a floating exchange rate. Progress on reforms in 2006 was slowed by the government's need to negotiate support in a fragmented Congress.

Since the early 1960s, the government has offered special incentives to agricultural and industrial enterprises that further the development of the northeastern and northern regions of the country. The development of these areas is under the supervision of the Development Superintendency of the Northeast, whose activities cover the states of Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Río Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe, Bahia, the zone of Minas Gerais located within the Drought Polygon, and the territory of Fernando de Noronha. The Superintendency for the Development of Amazonia, the Superintendency for the Development of the West-Central Region, and the Superintendency for the Development of the Southern Region are the other regional development agencies.


The Organic Social Security Law of Brazil, passed during the Vargas reform years of the 1930s, covered only some four million urban workers by the 1960s, including metallurgical, textile, and other industrial workers and commercial, bank, and store clerks. In 1976, social security laws were consolidated, and in the following year, the National System of Social Security and Welfare was established. Benefits include modest insurance against accidents; old age, invalids', and survivors' pensions; funeral insurance; and medical, dental, and hospital coverage. The system is financed by contributions from the employer, the worker, and the government. In urban areas the retirement age is 65 for men and 60 for women. Assistance programs and unemployment insurance is funded solely by the government. Sickness and maternity benefits are available to almost all workers. A family allowance is provided for low-income workers with one or more children.

Perhaps the most significant social challenge facing Brazil is caring for the millions of children who lack sufficient education, housing, health care, and nutrition. It has been estimated that over one-third of all children live in poverty. Thousands of children live and work on the streets in deplorable conditions; some are homeless, but a greater number have homes they return to at night. Many street children abuse drugs and they are often forced to resort to crime and prostitution to make a living. As a result, many shopkeepers have taken action against street children, and there is a widespread tendency to regard the problem as a security concern rather than a human rights issue.

Sexual and domestic violence is common and often goes unreported. According to a 2004 survey, 23% of women were subjected to domestic violence. The government has implemented women's stations to address crimes against women, with counseling, shelter, hospital treatment, and information on criminal redress. Although a criminal offense, sexual harassment in the workplace remains a problem.

Racial discrimination is pervasive in Brazil. Most Afro-Brazilians work in low paid jobs and live in poor housing. They have fewer opportunities for higher education and professional employment. Indigenous tribes of the Amazon are increasingly being threatened by mining, logging, and ranching, which encroach on their lands.

Serious human rights abuses by the police have been reported, including the beating, torture, and killing of detainees.


A health and welfare program, Prevsaúde, introduced by the government in 1981, was intended to double health services by 1987. In 1993, however, Brazil's national health care system came to an end, chiefly due to extensive fraudulent activity by hospitals, physicians, and state and municipal health secretariats. The new Brazilian Minister of Health planned to implement a new system and supported legislation to increase funds for the public health sector. As of 1998, public health services, complemented by private services, covered 75% of the population. The Ministry of Health has made efforts to encourage the federal district and 26 states to participate in some quality of care projects. Initiatives include certification by the International Standards organizations, consulting services, total quality management, patient satisfaction, and development of new technologies to increase efficiency. Total health care expenditure was estimated at 6.5% of GDP.

Health and sanitary conditions vary widely from region to region. The large cities have competent physicians, generally with advanced training abroad, but there is a dearth of doctors, hospitals, and nurses in most towns in the interior. In 2004, there were approximately 237,000 physicians, 145,000 dentists, and 77,000 nurses in Brazil. As of that year, there were an estimated 1.3 physicians and 3.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people.

In 2000, 87% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 77% had adequate sanitation. As part of a pilot program, Brazil is fortifying sugar with vitamin A and is currently investigating the feasibility of fortifying foods with vitamin A or iron. As of 1999, children one year old and under were immunized as follows: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 90%; and measles, 99%. Cholera affected many Brazilians. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.70 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 660,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 15,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

The infant mortality rate is high, but it has declined over the last 20 years. In 2005, the infant mortality was 29.61 per 1,000 live births. Many Brazilian women die during childbirth. In 1998, 160 maternal deaths occurred for every 100,000 live births. An estimated 77% of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 years used contraception. The average life expectancy in 2005 was 72 years.


Despite major urban developments, both the housing supply and living conditions in Brazil remain inadequate. Large, sprawling slums are endemic in the large cities, while most rural dwellers live without amenities such as piped water and electricity. In 2000, there were 44,776,740 residences. Roughly 75% of all dwellings were owner occupied. Roughly half of the housing stock was considered to be in semi-adequate condition. Only about 44% of all housing was considered to be adequate. At last estimate, more than 80% of all housing units were detached houses of brick, stone, wood or concrete; less than 10% were apartments; less than 10% were rural dwellings of wood or clay; and less than 5% were semiprivate units called quartes. In 2000, the housing deficit was estimated at 6.6 million houses.

In 1964, the federal government enacted the National Housing Act and suspended rent controls, with the stipulation that rents could be brought in line with private market levels. The law provided for the establishment of the National Housing Bank (Banco Nacional de Habitação, or BNH), whose main purposes are to stimulate savings to finance home construction through lending institutions, to coordinate the activities of both the public and private sectors, and to introduce financial incentives. The BNH can raise funds through bond issues and may also receive deposits from governmental agencies, public cooperatives, and mixed companies.


Education in colonial times was carried on first by the Jesuits and then by a few royal schools. Brazil's public school system, always weak, was under the Ministry of Justice and Interior until 1930, when the Ministry of Education and Health was created by Vargas. Responsibility for public education, as defined by the 1946 constitution and the 1961 directives and standards for national education, is divided between the federal, state, and municipal governments. Public elementary and secondary instruction is almost exclusively a function of the municipalities and states, while higher education is the responsibility of the federal Ministry of Education. Public education is free at all levels and nonprofit private schools also receive public funding. The federal government has been active, however, on all three levels through the Federal Council of Education, established in 1961 to coordinate the implementation of the 1961 directives and to advise the Ministry of Education.

The 1961 directives required the federal government to contribute at least 12% of its tax revenues to education, and state and municipal governments were required to contribute a minimum of 20% of their tax revenues for this purpose. The first National Plan of Education, formulated in 1962, called for the extension of compulsory elementary education to five and, eventually, six years, and by 1980 eight years of schooling was required. The 1988 Brazilian constitution allocates 25% of state and local tax revenues to education. As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 4.2% of GDP, or 12% of total government expenditures.

Primary courses last for eight years. The general secondary lasts for three years; however, students may choose to participate in technical or vocational programs at the secondary level, with programs lasting from three to five years. In 2001, about 67% of all eligible children had been enrolled in some types of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 97% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 75% of age-eligible students. Most students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 24:1 in 2003. The ratio for secondary school was about 19:1.

There are more than 90 universities, including the Federal University of Río de Janeiro (founded 1920) and the universities of Minas Gerais (1927), São Paulo (1934), Río Grande do Sul (1934), Bahia (1946), Recife (1946), Paraná (1946), and Brasília (1961). The federal government maintains at least one federal university in each state. Entrance to a college or university is through an examination called the "vestibular"; students may either earn a "bacharel" degree or, with an additional year spent in teacher training, obtain a "licenciado" degree. There are at least 902 institutions at the postsecondary level. In 2003, about 21% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program.

Adult education campaigns have functioned sporadically since 1933, backed by the federal government with some assistance from social, fraternal, Catholic, Protestant, professional, and commercial organizations. Although millions of Brazilians have received literacy training, the adult literacy rate for 2004 were estimated at 88.4%, with a fairly even rate for men and women.


Of Brazil's many hundreds of public libraries, the largest municipal library system is that of São Paulo, with over one million volumes. The National Library in Río de Janeiro (founded in 1810) houses 1.4 million bound volumes, more than eight million documents, and many rare manuscripts. Included in the collection are 60,000 volumes brought to Brazil by the Royal Family of Portugal in 1808. Various government ministries maintain separate libraries in Brasília. The largest academic library is the São Paulo University Integrated Library System with three million volumes in 39 libraries, while the Federal University in Río de Janeiro houses one million volumes. The Brazilian Federation of Librarians Associations, Information Scientists and Institutions (FEBAB) was established in 1959.

Brazil has nearly 200 museums. The National Museum (founded in 1818), one of the most important scientific establishments in South America, is especially known for its Brazilian ethnographic collections. Other important museums in Río de Janeiro include the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the Historical Museum, the Museum of Mineralogy, the Museum of the Bank of Brazil, the Getúlio Vargas Gallery, and the Indian Museum. The most important museums in São Paulo are the Paulista Museum and the São Paulo Museum of Art. Also in São Paulo is the Museum of Japanese Immigration, detailing Japan's impact on the country. The Goeldi Museum in Belém is famous for exhibits covering every aspect of Amazonian life and history and there is a well-known museum of religious art in Vitória.


The principal telegraph network is operated by the Brazilian Postal and Telegraph Administration, in which the government holds part ownership. National trunk routes and international connections are also operated directly by another mixed corporation, the Brazilian Telecommunications Corp. (EMBRATEL), which inaugurated an earth satellite station in 1969 linking the Brazilian network with member countries of INTELSAT. EMBRATEL has rapidly modernized and extended the domestic telecommunications system with the introduction of microwave networks, including long-distance direct dialing, throughout much of the country. In the Amazon region, the company relies on a tropodiffusion system because of the area's large empty spaces. In 2003, there were an estimated 223 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 200,000 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 264 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

Brazil has one of the largest television broadcasting systems in the world. As of 1999, Brazil had 1,365 AM and 296 FM radio stations. There were also 138 television stations. The primary news agencies are Agencia Brasil (state-owned), Agencia Estado (private, in São Paulo), and Agencia Globo (private). In 2003, there were an estimated 433 radios and 369 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 13.4 of every 1,000 were cable subscribers. The same year, there were 74.8 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 82 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 2,001 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

There are over 100 daily newspapers published in Brazil. The leading dailies in Río de Janeiro, with their political affiliation and 2002 circulation, include Globo (conservative), 350,000; Jornal o Dia (labor), 250,000; and Jornal do Brasil (conservative), 196,000 (in 2004). The sports daily, Jornal dos Sports, had a circulation of 150,000 in 2004. In São Paulo, the leading dailies (with 2004 circulation figures) included Folha de São Paulo (independent) 1.2 million (up from 640,407 in 2002); Estado de São Paulo (conservative) 491,070 (in 2002); Gazeta Mercantil, 106,000; and Noticias Populaires, 100,000. In Belo Horizonte, the independent Estado de Minas had a circulation of 170,000 in 2004, up from 65,000 in 2002. Porto Alegre's Zero Hora had a circulation of 270,000 in 2004, down from 528,000 in 2002. In Recife, the independent Diário de Pernambuco had a 2004 circulation of 90,000, up from 31,000 in 2002.

The largest Brazilian-owned magazine, which competes with the Portuguese-language edition of the Reader's Digest, called Selecões, is the popular illustrated Manchete of Río de Janeiro (1995 circulation 100,000).

Freedom of the press is guaranteed under the constitution of 1967 and no license is required for the publication of books, newspapers, and periodicals. However, under the newspaper code of 19 September 1972, newspapers were forbidden to publish "speculative" articles on politics or unfavorable reports on the economy. The interests of Brazilian journalists are defended by the InterAmerican Press Association and the influential Brazilian Press Association.


Owners of large farms and plantations, particularly coffee plantation owners, usually belong to one or more agricultural associations. The largest of the national agricultural organizations is the National Confederation of Agriculture, but, in general, local member groups of the federation, such as the Paraná Coffee Producers' Association, the Association of Coffee Farmers, and the Brazilian Rural Society, are more powerful than the national organization. Agricultural societies are organized for the primary purpose of promoting favorable legislation toward agriculture in the Congress, and they have become important political units over the years. Other agricultural groups include cattlemen's associations, dairymen's associations, and rice growers' and grain producers' organizations, usually organized on a statewide basis. Professional organizations exist for a wide variety of trades, professions, and interests. These are strongest in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Goiás, and Río Grande do Sul. Chambers of commerce function in every state.

The Brazilian Academy of Letters, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science are among the many cultural and scholarly organizations. The Associacao Medica Braseleira serves as a physicians network as well as a national forum for the promotion of high standards in healthcare and medical research. There are also several organizations involved in specialized medical research for a wide variety of conditions and diseases.

Most international service, social, and fraternal organizations are represented in Brazil. The Rotary International is well organized in the industrial cities of the south and there are Lions clubs and societies of Freemasons. The Catholic Church and the growing number of Protestants maintain various organizations. Catholic Action and the Catholic hierarchy have actively addressed themselves to combating misery and disease, especially in the big-city slums and in the northeast.

Youth organizations include the Boy Scouts of Brazil and the Federation of Girl Guides of Brazil, which are active nationwide. There is a Junior Chamber organization and active chapters of YWCA. There are numerous sports associations, including many that are affiliated with international organizations.

Brazil has chapters of the Red Cross, ActionAid, Habitat for Humanity, HOPE, World Vision, Defense for Children, Amnesty International, and Greenpeace.


Río de Janeiro is one of the leading tourist meccas in South America. Notable sights include Sugar Loaf Mountain, with its cable car; the Corcovado, with its statue of Christ the Redeemer; Copacabana Beach, with its mosaic sidewalks; and the Botanical Gardens. Large numbers of visitors are also drawn to the churches of Bahia; the historic city of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais; and the colorful Amazon Valley cities of Belém and Manaus. Brazil is also famous for its vibrant celebrations of Carnival, especially in Río de Janeiro; neighborhood samba groups rehearse all year for this occasion. Brazil's African heritage can best be savored at the Carnival in Salvador. Ecotourism attracts growing numbers of visitors to the world's largest rain forest in the North, the Iguacu Falls in the South, and the Mato Grosso wetlands in the Central West region. Football (soccer) is by far the most popular sport. Brazil hosted the World Cup competition in 1950, and Brazilian teams won the championship in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. The Maracanã soccer stadium in Río de Janeiro seats more than 180,000 spectators. Other favorite recreations include water sports, basketball, tennis, and boxing.

A valid passport and visa are required of all tourists to enter Brazil. All visitors must secure a visa in advance. Yellow fever vaccination certificates are required if a visitor is from an infected area. Malaria prevention is also recommended.

In 2003, a total of 4,090,590 tourists visited Brazil. As of that year, tourism receipts totaled $2.6 billion. There were 212,580 hotel rooms in 2000, with 425,160 beds.

In 2003, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Río de Janeiro at $213. Costs in other cities were lower, with Belo Horizonte at $96, Belém at $173, and Campo Grande at $105.


Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, also known as Tiradentes (d.1792), led an unsuccessful uprising in 1789 against Portuguese colonial rule. The patriarch of Brazilian independence was José Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva (17631838), a geologist, writer, and statesman. Pedro I (Antonio Pedro de Alcántara Bourbon, 17981834), of the Portuguese royal house of Bragança, declared Brazil independent and had himself crowned emperor in 1822; he became King Pedro IV of Portugal in 1826 but gave up the throne to his daughter, Maria da Gloria. His Brazilian-born son, Pedro II (Pedro de Alcántara, 182591), emperor from 1840 to 1889, consolidated national unity and won respect as a diplomat, statesman, and patron of the arts and sciences. Other famous Brazilians during the imperial period include the Brazilian national hero, Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, Duque de Caxias (180380), a patron of the Brazilian army; and Joaquim Marques Lisboa, Marques de Tamandaré (180797), a naval hero, soldier, and statesman. In the field of international politics, Joaquim Nabuco (18491910) won distinction as a diplomat, journalist, and champion of the abolition of slavery; José Maria de Silva Paranhos, Barão de Río Branco (18471912), was a famous minister of foreign affairs, who represented Brazil at many international conferences; and Ruy Barbosa (18491923) was a lawyer, diplomat, statesman, and jurist. A leader of industrial and economic development was Irineu Evangelista de Souza, Barão de Mauá (181389). Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont (18731932) is called the father of flight for his invention of a gasoline-powered airship in 1901. Oswaldo Cruz (18721917) founded the Brazilian Public Health Service and helped eradicate yellow fever in Río de Janeiro. Marshal Cândido Rondon (18651957), an explorer of Amazonia, organized the Brazilian Indian Bureau. Dr. Vital Brasil (18651950) developed São Paulo's snakebite serum institute at Butantã.

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (18391908), author of Memórias Póstumas de Braz Cubas and other novels and poems, is generally considered the greatest Brazilian literary figure. The poet Euclides da Cunha (18661909) wrote Os Sertões (1902), one of the foremost works by a Brazilian. Other literary figures include Antônio Gonçalves Dias (182464), a romantic poet who idealized the Brazilian Indian; Castro Alves (184771), who influenced the abolition of slavery; and contemporary writers such as Gilberto de Mello Freyre (19001987), José Lins do Rego (19001959), Erico Verissimo (19051975), and Jorge Amado (19122001).

Aleijadinho (Antônio Francisco Lisboa, 17391814) was an 18th-century church architect and carver of soapstone religious statues in Minas Gerais. Contemporary artists include the painter Emiliano di Cavalcanti (18971976); the painter and muralist Cândido Portinari (190362), considered the greatest artist Brazil has produced; and the sculptor Bruno Giorgio (b.1905). Lúcio Costa (b.France, 190285), regarded as the founder of modern Brazilian architecture, designed the new capital city of Brasília, and Oscar Niemeyer (b.1907) designed most of the government buildings. Robert Burle Marx (190994) originated an unusual form of landscaping to complement modern architectural form. Another Brazilian architect of note, Alfonso Eduardo Reidy (b.France, 190964), designed the Museum of Modern Art in Río de Janeiro.

The greatest figure in Brazilian music is the composer and educator Heitor Villa-Lobos (18871959), who wrote prolifically in many styles and forms. Other musicians include the composers Carlos Gomes (183696), Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez (18971948), Francisco Mignone (18971987), and Camargo Guarnieri (19071993); the concert pianist Guiomar Novaës Pinto (18951979); the operatic soprano Bidu Sayao (Balduina de Oliveira Sayao, 190299); and the folklorist and soprano Elsie Houston (19001943). One of the best-known Brazilians is soccer star Edson Arantes do Nascimento (b.1940), better known as Pelé.

Other noted figures are Getúlio Vargas (18831954), president-dictator in the period 193045, who increased the power of the central government; Francisco de Assis Chateaubriand Bandeira de Melo (18911966), a publisher, diplomat, and art collector; Oswaldo Aranha (18941960), president of the UN General Assembly during 194749; and Marcelino Candau (191183), director-general of WHO during 195373. Gen. Ernesto Geisel (190796) and his presidential successor, Gen. João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo (191899), guided Brazil through a period of political liberalization. Luis Inácio Lula da Silva (b.1945) was elected president in 2002, the first socialist president to be elected since 1964.


Brazil has no colonies, but three national territories are contiguous with or incorporated within the national domain. The constitution provides for the creation of a territory from part of an established state, the incorporation of a territory into an established state, or the organization of a territory into a new state if that territory can demonstrate its ability to meet the requirements of statehood.

The territories of Amapá, on the French Guiana border, and Roraima (formerly Río Branco), on the Venezuelan border, became states on 5 October 1988. The Fernando de Noronha island, off the northeastern coast, was annexed to the state of Pernambuco in 1988. Territorial governors are appointed by the president of the republic, and each territory has one representation in the federal Chamber of Deputies. Territories have no representation in the federal Senate. Trindade, Atol das Rocas, Penedos de São Pedro e São Paulo, and the Ilhas Martin Vaz, small islands in the Atlantic, also belong to Brazil.


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Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, DC: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.

Herndon, William Lewis. Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon, 18511852. New York: Grove Press, 2000.

Inequality and Economic Development in Brazil. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2004.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Meade, Teresa A. A Brief History of Brazil. New York: Facts On File, 2003.

Smith, Joseph. History of Brazil, 15002000: Politics, Economy, Society, Diplomacy. New York: Longman, 2002.

Vincent, Jon S. Culture and Customs of Brazil. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003.

Williams, Daryle. Culture Wars in Brazil: The First Vargas Regime, 19301945. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2001.

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Basic Data

Official Country Name: Federative Republic of Brazil
Region (Map name): South America
Population: 174,468,575
Language(s): Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
Literacy rate: 83.3%
Area: 8,511,965 sq km
GDP: 595,458 (US$ millions)
Number of Daily Newspapers: 465
Total Circulation: 7,883,000
Circulation per 1,000: 61
Number of Nondaily Newspapers: 2,020
Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 1,490 (US$ millions)
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 23.90
Number of Television Stations: 138
Number of Television Sets: 36,500,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 209.2
Number of Cable Subscribers: 2,334,480
Cable Subscribers per 1,000: 13.7
Number of Satellite Subscribers: 1,195,000
Satellite Subscribers per 1,000: 6.8
Number of Radio Stations: 1822
Number of Radio Receivers: 71,000,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 407.0
Number of Individuals with Computers: 75,000,000
Computers per 1,000: 429.9
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 5,000,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 28.7

Background & General Characteristics

Newspaper circulation and readership in Brazil have traditionally been low if compared to the rates in most developed countries: 61 daily newspapers per 1,000 people in 2002. However, the fifth most populous country in the world170 million people in 2000boasts a very lively and energetic press, which in the 1990s played an important part in exposing problems such as political corruption, homelessness, and environmental degradation, and thus spurring significant changes in the structure of Brazilian political and economic institutions.

Relatively low literacy rates (85 percent) and high production and distribution costs have been consistently blamed for small newspaper circulation in Brazil. An estimated 465 newspapers circulated daily in Brazil, more than in Germany, Mexico or Russia. Although there are no national newspapers in the country, the largest circulation dailies attract audiences that extend beyond their regional geographic markets. Brazil has no large newspaper chains, and most publications are still family-owned. Several of those family-owned companies, however, are in fact regional or local media conglomerates that also own television and radio stations within their metropolitan or state markets. A handful of those corporations also own and operate publishing houses, news agencies, as well as cable and satellite television companies.

When it comes to press freedom, Brazil has had a somewhat spotty historical record. Until 1808, Portuguese colonizers prohibited printing presses in the country. As a result, a strong newspaper tradition was not established in Brazil until the mid to late 1800s. From 1889 on, with the creation of the Brazilian Republic, the country's political system has alternated between authoritarian and democratic phases. Consequently, freedom of the press has been restricted and in some cases completely abolished for significant periods in Brazilian history.

Brazil occupies half of South America's landmass. The country is the fifth largest in the world, after Russia, Canada, China, and the United States, although its geographic area is larger than the 48 continental U.S. states. Brazil shares a border with every South American country, except for Ecuador and Chile. The Amazon rainforest, which occupies at least half of Brazil's landmass, is probably the country's most prominent and well-known geographic feature. The country also has wetlands, savannas, subtropical forests, mountains, and semi-arid areas. Those geographic characteristics were very important in the establishment of Brazil as a country and in the development of the Brazilian media system. Until the mid-1970s, most of the country's population was concentrated in the southern and southeastern areas of Brazil, as well as along the northeastern Atlantic coast. Consequently, newspaper circulation (as well as magazine readership and even television watching) until the 1970s used to be concentrated in these populated urban areas.

The 26 Brazilian states, some of which are larger and more populous than other Latin American countries, are commonly grouped in five different regions: North, Northeast, Center-West, Southeast and South. In terms of population and socioeconomic indicators, the North and Northeast are usually regarded as poorer and less populated than the other three regions. The Southeast alone, with just 11 percent of the country's area, had 42 percent of the Brazilian population, 62 percent of the GDP and over 70 percent of the country's industry in 1996. The three largest Brazilian cities, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte, are located in this region.

The four top circulation newspapers in the country Folha de São Paulo (560,000), O Globo (350,000), O Dia (250,000), and O Estado de São Paulo (242,000) are also located in the Southeast region, Folha and Estado in São Paulo and Globo and Dia in Rio.

Although it displays less impressive numbers, in terms of quality of life, socioeconomic indicators, and distribution of wealth, the South might be considered the most prosperous Brazilian region. With a heavily mechanized agriculture and most of the country's cattle, the Center-West, which has recently achieved economic importance, occupies one-fourth of the country's area, but has less than one-twelfth of its population.

Brazil is an essentially urban country. According to the official census data, the percentage of the population living in urban areas sprung from 36 percent in 1940 to 76 in 1991. That number rose again to 81 percent in 2002. The census also indicated that more than 85 million Brazilians lived in cities of 100,000 or more in the early 1990s.

In terms of ethnic and cultural characteristics, the Northern region is mostly populated by the descendants of native Indian groups. Known as caboclos, men and women of this sparsely populated Brazilian region (where most of the Amazon forest is located) live along the banks of the many rivers and creeks that constitute the Amazon river basin. Most of those caboclos rely on subsistence crops, fishing, and hunting as their main economic activity. Many of them still preserve much of the physical and cultural traits that characterized their native Brazilian ancestors. In the Northern region, the influence of Portuguese and other European immigrant groups can best be felt in larger cities, such as Belém and Manaus. Newspaper readership in the northern region is also concentrated in those two cities, as well as in a few other smaller urban areas.

In the Northeast, the sertanejo is the equivalent of the Northern caboclo. Sertanejo is the term usually employed to describe peasants and small farmers that populate the arid and poor inland areas of that region. The Northeastern coast received the largest numbers of African slaves brought from across the Atlantic. Today's sertanejos are the result of centuries of racial integration between African and local native groups. The African influence is still heavily felt in the region's largest cities, especially Salvador and Recife. Most cities and state capitals located in this area have their own daily newspapers, but readership tends to be low.

In terms of ethnic diversity, the Southeast and Center-West regions are the best examples of the "melting pot" of cultures and traditions described in earlier paragraphs. There is no one dominant ethnic group in those regions of the country, where the African, European and native Brazilian presences can be equally measured. However, heavy European and Asian immigrations have radically altered the ethnic make-up of the five Brazilian regions in the twentieth century. The most important "recent" ethnic groups are Germans, Japanese, and Italians. Their immigration to Brazil started in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and continued throughout the first half of the century. The Japanese population, concentrated in the states of São Paulo (Southeast), Paraná (South), and Pará (North), has grown to 1.2 million over the decades. German immigrants concentrated in the three Southern states, where many rural areas are still referred to as "little Germany," while a very large number of Italian immigrants concentrated in São Paulo and also in the South.

Brazil's history as a nation goes back to the year 1500, when Portuguese navegadores (sailors) set foot on what is now the state of Bahia. Before the Portuguese, several different native populations occupied Brazil. Despite wildly divergent estimates, most historians believe the country was heavily populated along its lush 4,600 mile-long shoreline, and only sparsely occupied inland.

Years before they discovered Brazil, the Portuguese had already claimed the eastern half of South America, when they signed the Treaty of Tordesillas with Spain in 1494. The colonization of Brazil, which started 30 years after discovery, was justified by economic, political and religious reasons. Portugal needed not only the abundant raw materials (wood, sugar cane, spices) free for the taking in the new colony, but it also took upon itself the duty of converting to Christianity the native population it encountered in the new land.

Portuguese colonization was very important in determining the future of the Brazilian press system. Literacy and education were highly discouraged by the Portuguese rulers. Universities, book publishing and newspaper printing were not seen in Brazil until 1808, when the Portuguese royal family had to settle in Rio de Janeiro to escape the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.

Portugal granted Brazil independence in 1822, but unlike what happened in former American colonies such as the United States or Mexico, Brazilian ruling classes opted for a monarchic regime that lasted until 1889. During the so-called First and Second Empires (1822-1889), limited access to education, low literacy rates and widespread poverty prevented newspapers from reaching a mass audience. Newspapers were often associated with political parties and specific interest groups, such as the freemasons. Despite their limited reach, and because of their influential role in forming public opinion among the educated elite, newspapers and journalists were often in the center of the political action.

The situation was not very different throughout the Velha República (Old Republic), which lasted from 1889 to 1930. Newspapers and prominent editorial writers influenced decisions made by the Brazilian ruling classes landowners, merchants, and political and military figuresbut never attained the kind of mass circulation reached by the Penny Press in the United States at the same time period.

Political disenfranchisement of the masses and general dissatisfaction with economic policies led to the collapse of the Old Republic and the establishment of the Vargas Era (named after President Getulio Vargas) in 1930. Vargas ruled Brazil from 1930 to 1945, and then again from 1951 to 1954, alternating as dictator (1930-1934), congressionally elected president (1934-1937), dictator again (1937-1945), and finally popularly elected president (1951-1954). Throughout this time, Vargas had a very turbulent relationship with the press. The government created an official propaganda department; press freedom was suppressed for extended periods of time; journalists and writers were persecuted and jailed; newspapers were routinely censored.

It was not until the end of World War II in 1945 that Brazil started to enjoy a period of democracy and economic growth. From 1945 to 1964, civil liberties and press freedom were finally restored, as a new Constitution was drafted and approved by Congress. The country was industrialized, a new capital (Brasilia) was built, and a strong middle class emerged. Universities were created or expanded in every Brazilian state, and literacy and newspaper readership increased.

The democratic period ended in April 1964 with the military coup d'état that removed President Goulart. The military regime that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985 was particularly fierce in its limitation of press freedom. From 1968 to the mid-1970s, for example, a presidential executive order (called AI-5, short for Ato Institucional n. 5) severely restricted civil liberties in the country, and established de facto media censorship.

During the two decades of military rule, several daily newspapers refused to abide by the government's limitations, but these publications had to pay a high cost for serving as the country's moral and social conscience. In the late-1960s and early-1970s, it was not uncommon for newspapers to be censored on a daily basis. Individual journalists also suffered government persecution, and, in the case of at least one prominent journalist, paid with their own lives.

Brazilian mass media, especially newspapers and magazines, were instrumental in pressing for and overseeing the transition from military to democratic rule in the late-1970s, a process known as abertura politica. The restoration of democracy, civil liberties and the rule of law also immensely affected the press in the 1980s. In the 1990s, newspapers and journalists played a very important role in denouncing social and economic problems such as poverty, homelessness and political corruption.

In the early 1990s, newspapers and newsmagazines were the first institutions in the country to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse of power against then President Fernando Collor. The subsequent media frenzy, which has been dubbed by some as the "Brazilian Watergate," eventually led to the impeachment of Collor by Congress in 1992.

Throughout the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, the Brazilian press has continued to take very seriously its role as government watchdog. According to an international media survey conducted in 1997, newspaper circulation and readership were up in Brazil, and, more importantly, newspapers ranked number one in terms of public credibility, ahead of government, congress and other institutions.

History of the Press

As opposed to what happened in the Spanish and English colonies in the Americas, where printing presses were used since the 16th and 17th centuries, Brazil did not know printing until the early nineteenth century. According to historians, some basic differences in the Portuguese, Spanish and English colonization schemes account for that delay. While the Spanish colonizers had to fight to replace advanced indigenous civilizations (the Incas and the Aztecs) with their own culture, counting on colonial universities and printing presses to better prepare their local elite, the Portuguese found in Brazil indigenous groups only loosely organized and sparsely located along the country's Atlantic coast, which did not pose a threat to their colonizing efforts. Moreover, the Portuguese royalty saw books, even in the metropolis, with extreme distrust. Until the late 1700s, any material published in Portugal had to be examined by three different kinds of censors-the local Church authorities, the Inquisitors sent in by the Holy See, and the censors working for the King. As a result, printing was a very restricted activity in Portugal, and most books were religious in nature.

Throughout colonial times, books were illegally brought to Brazil by military and intellectual figures that visited or studied in Europe. Some of those illegal books were actually used as incriminating evidence against clandestine groups that fought for Brazil's independence from Portugal. Among the forbidden publications were the French and American Constitutions.

The first printing press that entered Brazil legally came with the Portuguese royal family, in 1808. One of the first official acts of the recently transplanted Portuguese rulers was to establish the Royal Press in Rio de Janeiro. From the offices of the Royal Press was printed the first Brazilian newspaper, the Gazeta do Rio de Janeiro, on September 10th, 1808. The Gazeta was first a weekly, and then a daily newspaper. The newspaper served merely as the official mouthpiece for the royal family, publishing news from Europe and official government acts.

One of the first influential Brazilian newspapers, the Correio Brasiliense, was published not in Rio, but in London. Its founder, Hipólito da Costa, justified his choice of printing his paper abroad by reminding local critics of the fierce Portuguese censorship, and of the risks that would threaten editors who dared to criticize the King. Although the Correio 's first issue was published on June 1st, 1808, three months before the Gazeta first appeared, the latter is still considered by most historians the first Brazilian newspaper, since the former was published abroad.

Neither the Gazeta nor the Correio were informative, news-filled periodicals. While the Gazeta was an official newspaper, the Correio was a partisan one, very much interested in educating Brazilian readers about themes such as abolitionism and political emancipation. Although it was published in London, the Correio was a very influential newspaper, read by the political, intellectual and commercial elite both in Brazil and Portugal.

Other newspapers that started in Brazil at the time, such as the Idade de Ouro do Brasil, which was published in Salvador, Bahia, and first appeared in May 1811, presented themselves as informative and impartial, but in reality were very much attuned with the national and local ruling classes. Most of these "official" periodicals lasted only until 1822, when Brazil became independent from Portugal.

The Brazilian independence is explained by most historians as a long economic and political process in which the Brazilian commercial upper classes saw the Portuguese royalty as an obstacle to their goal of exporting and trading freely with any country they wanted, besides Portugal. The Portuguese King and ruling classes wanted Brazil to trade exclusively with the metropolis, and this economic dispute over trade monopoly eventually culminated with the rupture between the two countries.

Historians believe that an emerging rebel or insurgent Brazilian press played an important part in convincing and uniting the local economic and political elite around the independence ideals. Newspapers promoting the independence and rupture with Portugal flourished in Brazil in 1821 and 1822. Even before 1822, local newspapers appeared in cities such as Salvador and Belém, sponsoring radical and even revolutionary ideas.

After the independence, printing presses and newspapers multiplied in several Brazilian states, from Pará, in the north, to Rio Grande do Sul, in the south. Reading, writing and printing books and newspapers were seen not only as desirable but as necessary and even patriotic activities.

During the so-called First and Second Empires (1822-1889), the Brazilian press experienced an unprecedented boom. It was during this phase that the tradition of a strong partisan press was established in Brazil. Newspapers multiplied in every major Brazilian city. In 1827, an imperial decree abolished censorship of the press. The tradition of a lively and engaged press, patronized by political groups as well as the general population, was thus born. In the state of Minas Gerais alone, about a dozen daily newspapers appeared between 1823 and 1833.

Brazilian newspapers of the period were both informative and partisan. It was not uncommon to find newspapers articles openly and strongly criticizing the imperial government, as well as local authorities and rival political groups. This period of political emancipation and economic development in Brazil cemented the public's trust in the press, as well as the habit of reading several daily newspapers. It was not uncommon for the general population in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Ouro Preto to subscribe to competing dailies.

During that time, besides Portuguese-language newspapers, French and English dailies, such as the Courrier du Brésil and The Rio Herald, also circulated in Rio de Janeiro. Those newspapers circulated mainly among the English and French nationals with commercial and financial interests in Brazil, but they also influenced local politics. French immigrants played an especially relevant role in developing not only newspapers, but also printing and typography in general in Rio de Janeiro.

In the 1830s and 1840s, as the country went through a phase of political upheaval as separatist and republican movements spread throughout the provinces, to the well-established daily newspapers were added the pasquins, openly partisan newspapers and pamphlets, many of them without regular periodicity. Those pasquins were extremely popular and influential, appearing (and disappearing) during times of intense political disputes. Historians attribute the emergence and popularity of the pasquins to the increasing literacy rates and the need many Brazilians felt to be better informed during a period of intense political battles.

From the 1850s on, daily newspapers and pasquins played an important role in two crucial national issues in Brazil: the end of African slavery and the end of the monarchy. Throughout the 1850s, abolitionist and republican newspapers multiplied in Brazil, not only in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Ouro Preto, but also in the less-developed provinces, such as Pernambuco and Bahia. It was at this time that the political cartoons and political satires, very influential journalistic features of the Brazilian press, also appeared.

Besides their heavy interest in local and national politics, the Brazilian newspapers of the time also gave a space to the arts, especially literature. In a country where book publishing is still an extremely expensive activity, newspapers specialized in publishing short stories, essays and even serialized novels written by some of the most important Brazilian writers of the time. Following a tradition prevalent in countries such as England and France, where the serialized novels of Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo first appeared on the pages on local newspapers, Brazilian dailies enlisted intellectuals such as José de Alencar and Machado de Assis, two of the most important writers of the nineteenth century, to publish new stories and novels on their pages. Actually, most writers of any renown at the time either started at or wrote exclusively for newspapers, as daily reporters and editors.

It was also during the 1850s and 1860s and some of the most important daily newspapers were first published. Diário do Rio de Janeiro, Jornal do Comércio andCorreio Mercantil, all of them influential daily newspapers in Brazil, appeared in the 1860s. The daily O Globo was also revitalized, under new ownership, at that time.

The end of slavery, in 1888, and the end of the monarchy, in 1889, started a new phase for Brazilian newspapers. Readers and subscribers favored newspapers that sponsored republican ideals. In 1891, the influential Jornal do Brasil was first published. Many well-known journalists were called to be part of the first republican government.

At the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth, the Brazilian press made an effort to modernize its production. Larger newspapers, such as Jornal do Brasil, already had photography departments, and most dailies published cartoons and drawings. The period also signals a shift in management and ownership models, and most newspapers grow from small, individually-owned enterprises to larger, family-owned corporations. At that time, most large dailies owned and operated their own industrial printing complexes.

The beginning of the twentieth century also saw one of the first efforts to consolidate and professionalize the press-many small newspapers folded or were absorbed by larger dailies. Most cities still maintained the tradition of competing daily newspapers, which prevails to this day in Brazil, but most smaller papers and pasquins had to give way to market pressures.

The tradition of a partisan press and the heavy involvement of newspapers and journalists in the political life persisted throughout the first half of the twentieth century. The trend towards consolidation and modernization also persisted. As Brazil moved from an agricultural, rural society to an industrial, urban one, newspapers tried to follow the lead. As urban newspapers modernized their production departments, old printing presses were being sold to smaller, rural newspapers.

By the end of World War II, every state capital and major Brazilian city had at least one daily newspaper. It was not uncommon for cities with 100,000 people or more to have two or three rival dailies. Newspapers were often still affiliated with political groups or local powerful families. As competition increased, the need for professionalization of the news business and modernization of printing also grew.

In the 1950s, most Brazilian newspapers were already following the news model introduced by their North-American counterparts, with the use of the lead and the inverted pyramid; as well as independently-verified and gathered information; the use of an "objective" narrative style; and the reliance on independent news sources.

Paradoxically, the 1964 military coup, discussed in more detail on a separate section, also contributed to turn Brazilian newspapers into more modern and politically independent enterprises. After political parties were extinct and the multi-party system substituted by a bipartisan, quasi-official political system, newspapers focused on the "straightforward" news of the day and on more efficient business practices. It was also in the 1970s that most journalism and mass communication courses started, and a new law demanded an accredited university degree for the credentialing of new journalists by the Labor Department. By the 1970s, most, if not all Brazilian newspapers were independent from political organizations, and used off-set printing techniques.

By the early 1980s, some newspapers were already introducing computers in the newsrooms and production departments, and many were experimenting with color printing. Market pressures and successive economic crises led many Brazilian newspapers to fold in the 1980s and 1990s. Some markets have consolidated into one major daily newspaper, but in the beginning of the twenty-first century, most Brazilian cities still have two or three competing dailies.

A city such as São Paulo, for example, has three major dailies, Folha de São Paulo (circ. 560,000), O Estado de São Paulo (circ. 242,000), and Gazeta Mercantil, and still has enough space for popular newspapers, tabloids, and niche-filling publications. The same is true for Rio de Janeiro, with O Globo (circ. 350,000), O Dia (circ. 250,000), and Jornal do Brasil being the most important and influential regional newspapers, and still having smaller tabloids and specialized dailies.

Besides full-color printing and digital and satellite production, most Brazilian newspapers have simultaneous Internet versions. In many cases, those electronic versions are updated throughout the day, and have as many or more readers than the traditional paper versions.

Economic Framework

Up to the 1930s, Brazil's economy relied heavily on the production and export of primary goods (especially timber, spices, gold and precious gems, and coffee). During colonial times, Portugal strongly enforced economic policies that reduced the country to a mere exporter of raw materials. Local industry was virtually non-existent, and land ownership and commercial trade were the only means to economic prosperity.

Heavy industrialization started in the 1930s and accelerated through the 1940s and 1950s, culminating with the creation of a national steel and automotive industry in the mid-1950s. The industrial self-sufficiency policy implemented by the government in the 1950s created strong working and middle classes; increased living standards, education and literacy; substituted imported manufactured products for national ones; and established the basis for a strong, diversified economy that persists into this century.

Media analysts have observed that throughout twentieth century Brazil, real media power was wielded not by newspapers, but by radio and television. That is true, to a large extent, because of the fact that both radio and television benefited not only from the same economic growth that affected newspapers, but also from the added benefits of economic policies that expanded Brazil's telecommunications infrastructure.

Ironically, newspaper circulation and readership in Brazil have increased even during desperate economic situations, such as the hyperinflation crisis of the late 1980s. Analysts believe that happened because the Brazilian press has been particularly effective at covering economic and financial news, keeping readers abreast of all the latest economic policies and measures implemented by the government.

An interesting characteristic of the Brazilian press system is that a law enacted by the military in the mid-1960s prevents foreign ownership of Brazilian media companies. The law, which at the time forced U.S. media giant Time-Life to sell its interests in the then-emergent broadcasting company TV Globo, has made sure that only Brazilian companies and Brazilian nationals control mass media firms. However, in April 2002, legislation working its way through the Brazilian Congress was proposing to open the domestic media market to foreign investors. The bill, already approved in the Chamber of Deputies, was waiting for ratification by the Senate and then by the President to go into effect. Even before the new law was approved, many international media conglomerates, such as Time-Warner and Pearson (which publishes the Financial Times), were already announcing in April 2002 their intention to vie for a slice of the Brazilian media market.

Brazil represents the largest Latin American market for both investors and advertisers. In 1995, advertising expenditures in Brazil amounted to US$ 6.5 billion, compared to US$ 3.1 billion for Mexico and US$ 2.6 billion for Argentina, respectively the second and third largest markets. But while in Mexico newspapers accounted only for 12 percent of advertising expenditures (US$ 366 million), in Brazil newspaper advertising expenditures represented almost 28 percent of the total (US$ 1.8 billion).

Press Laws

The Brazilian Congress enacted in 1967 a Press Code (Lei de Imprensa ) that addresses and ensures freedom of the press in the country. The first article of the law states:

"It shall be free the expression of thought and opinions and the search, reception and transmission of information and ideas, by any means, and without censorship, and everyone shall be responsible, in the terms of the law, for the abuses he or she might commit."

The subsequent paragraphs, however, build in exceptions to prohibit war propaganda, subversion of the social and political order, and the diffusion of racist messages. The second article of the Press Code specifically ensures the right to a free press:

"It shall be free the publication and circulation, within the whole national territory, of books, newspapers and other periodicals, unless these are clandestine or offend the standards of public decency."

The exceptions built into both articles of the law were used by the military regime to justify censorship between 1968 and the mid-1970s, without having to actually revoke the then newly created code.

The 1967 Press Code's third article prohibits media ownership by foreign companies or foreign nationals. The subsequent article goes even further, stating that only Brazilian-born citizens might be responsible for managing, editing and producing news shows, including news stories, debates, opinion and commentary. The code prohibits journalists from using aliases and writing anonymous pieces, but guarantees the media's right to maintain anonymity of sources. The second part of the code prescribes the penalties (citations, fines, and sentences) for violating each article of the law.

Telecommunications Policies in Brazil

A new Telecommunications Code (Lei Geral das Telecomunicaçães ) was enacted in 1997 to guarantee universal access to telecommunications to all Brazilian citizens. The new code also created a national telecommunications agency (Agéncia Nacional de Telecomunicaçães ), now responsible for granting telecommunications licenses. In Brazil, as in the United States, the government rules the air-waves, but the private sector owns them. The Ministry of Communications, which still controls the granting of broadcast licenses, as well as Embratel, were created by the military government in 1967 to foster both technological development and political control over broadcasting.

If in the 1960s and 1970s the process of government supervised licensing was used chiefly as a means of political control and censorship, in the 1980s and 1990s the distribution of new broadcasting licenses was used by Brazilian governments for bargaining power, and as a means of increasing political support. Broadcasting licenses are granted by the federal government and subject to Congressional approval. The exchange of broadcasting licenses for political support was taken to extremes by former President José Sarney, himself a media mogul in his native state of Maranhão. From 1987 to 1990 alone, the federal government distributed 850 new radio and television licenses.

A federal law prior to the military regime established the Brazilian Code of Telecommunications, in 1962. The law created the Conselho Nacional de Telecomunicaçães (National Council for Telecommunications; Contel), an agency that also works as a regulatory body, supervising the granting of licenses, authorizations and permits, and also the agency that applies penalties.

Analysts have noticed that the military regime had a tremendous impact on broadcasting policies in Brazil. That influence was translated both into the already mentioned technological changes, and into the establishment of direct censorship. After the coup d'état of 1964, censorship was not only openly exerted, but also unofficially authorized by the new Press Code, enacted in 1967.

When the military government stepped down and Brazil went back to civilian rule, in 1985, a democratic process engendered a new Constitution, adopted in 1988. Under the new Constitution, censorship of the media is not only condemned but also expressly prohibited.

According to the new Telecommunications Code of 1997, most of the duties and responsibilities of the old Conselho Nacional de Telecomunicaçães were transferred to the newly created Agéncia Nacional de Telecomunicaçães (Anatel).


Censorship affected the Brazilian press throughout the country's history, from imperial times (nineteenth century) to the Old Republic (1889-1930), and then again during the Estado Novo (1937-1945) portion of the Vargas regime. De facto censorship was reinstated during the military regime (1964-1985), particularly during the implementation of the AI-5 (1968-mid-1970s).

During the Estado Novo, Vargas created a federal propaganda department, which was in charge of disseminating government supported news and information; building alliances with local and regional media owners; and silencing opposition voices, both through economic and political censorship. The Vargas regime was also responsible for persecuting writers and journalists who disagreed with the government, enforcing censorship and repression of even well known Brazilian literary figures, such as Jorge Amado and Graciliano Ramos.

Censorship was also enforced during the military regime. Opposition voices were persecuted, silenced, and driven underground. Several newspapers were outright closed down, and the ones that survived were quick to learn how to adapt to the realities of the new regime. Ironically, the Brazilian Press Code was enacted in 1967, during the military dictatorship. That law guaranteed freedom of the press, but it also contained built-in mechanisms to allow for persecution of dissenting voices, if those were considered subversive or threatening to national security.

A presidential executive order promulgated in December 1968 (AI-5) suppressed civil liberties, including direct elections for most executive and legislative positions, individual rights, and press freedom, and established a de facto police state in Brazil. Censorship of the mass media was openly enforced by the military between 1968 and the early 1970s. Major newspapers at the time, such as Jornal do Brasil and O Estado de São Paulo even had their own censors in the newsroom. Those federal government employees were responsible for reading major stories ahead of time, before they went to press, and recommending the appropriate changes, if necessary. Several times, important news stories were yanked from page one, and newspapers tried to alert readers by replacing them with cooking recipes, or even by printing blank columns.

Media censorship was eliminated once the democratic rule was reestablished in 1985. However, one of the first controversies faced by the newly elected civilian ruler, President José Sarney, was caused by his decision to prohibit a French movie he deemed offensive to the Catholic Church.

State-Press Relations

In the 1990s, the Brazilian press stepped up its role as government watchdog. Since then, newspapers have been at the forefront of the struggle against political and economic abuse of power. Newspaper and newsmagazine circulation and readership increased partly due to the press' efficiency in investigating and publishing stories that expose social ills such as poverty and corruption. Historically, that has not necessarily been the case. The relationship between government and the press in Brazil was very strained during the 1930s, and then again during the military regime. Journalists and writers were often censored, jailed, and in some cases, killed, for pursuing stories that exposed corruption or political repression.

During the late 1930s, President Getulio Vargas used the media, particularly radio, to gain public support for his regime. During the late 1940s and 1950s, a very polarized press alternated support and criticism of the newly democratic government. In the 1950s, most newspapers in Brazil were still affiliated with political parties, openly supporting and campaigning for candidates, or, on the other hand, publishing editorials and articles criticizing political opponents.

During the military regime, the new rulers fiercely silenced the opposition, and newspapers learned to conform and adapt to the new political reality. In the 1960s, as the traditional political parties were outlawed, the old tradition of a strong partisan press also died out. Throughout the military dictatorship, newspapers, for the most part, tried to maintain their independence, but in many occasions had to tone down criticism and go along with government policies they would not have otherwise endorsed.

On a very few occasions during the military regime did newspapers openly disagree or criticize the government. One of those occasions was caused by the death of journalist Wladimir Herzog, who worked at TV Cultura de São Paulo, a state-owned educational channel. Herzog's death during questioning at a local police station in 1975 represented a major turning point not only for the relationship between the military and the press, but also for the return of democratic rule in Brazil.

Two Brazilian press institutions played a very significant role in the transition to democratic rule in the 1970sthe Brazilian Press Association (Associação Brasileira de ImprensaABI) and the National Federation of Journalists (Federação Nacional dos Jornalistas FENAJ). The former congregates not only journalists, but also editors, publishers and newspaper owners, while the latter is the most important professional organization for journalists in the country.

Most of the mass media in Brazil are privately owned and there are no government subsidies for media companies, except for educational radio and TV-usually one public broadcasting company in each state owns and operates educational television and radio stations. The 1997 Telecommunications Code created a federal agency that oversees the license-granting process to telecommunications companies in the country.

Attitude toward Foreign Media

All major foreign media, including newspapers, magazines, news agencies, and broadcasting companies, have offices and correspondents in Brazil. Those offices are usually either in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, with several of the correspondents in the national capital, Brasilia. International journalists have their own organization in the country, the Association of Foreign Correspondents in Brazil (Associação dos Correspondentes de Imprensa Estrangeira no Brasil-ACIE).

Until 2002, foreign ownership of media companies was not allowed in Brazil. In April 2002, new legislation was approved by the Chamber of Deputies to allow foreign nationals and companies to own interests in Brazilian media organizations.

Foreign mass media, especially entertainment and news television channels, are very popular in Brazil, and accessible through cable or pay TV subscription services. Foreign newspapers and magazines are available in all major Brazilian cities, at newsstands or bookstores.

The Impact of Foreign and National Media

Some Brazilian analysts and scholars worry about the negative impact of foreign and national mass media in Brazil. They worry that much of what was considered the "authentic," traditional Brazilian culture is being lost because of the widespread penetration of television.

Small towns in Brazil still gather around communal television sets to share the electronic ritual of watching television. Some remote villages in the Amazon jungle do not even have electricity. On the other side of the spectrum, urban areas enjoy communication technologies comparable to those in use at the world's most industrialized regions.

Recent studies that examined the impact of mass media on traditional communities of the Brazilian Amazon observed that many of the authentic, traditional cultural and social activities were being transformed as a consequence of television's pervasiveness. Remote rural villages seemed to be ready and eager to incorporate cultural and social norms that have been long associated with Brazilian urban areas.

The same studies showed, for example, that the networks' strict schedules were changing local residents' concept of time, which was moving from a more fluid, qualitative state to a more strict, quantitative one. Television was also thought to have a negative influence on the continuity of local cultural traditions, such as traditional religious practices and ceremonies; as well as on some long held economic practices, such as subsistence fishing. However, mass media was also seen as contributing to social and political participation, by elevating the educational level of local residents, and by keeping them informed of major national, regional and state political and economic developments.

News Agencies

Brazil has several national news agencies, maintained by the major newspapers in the country, and operating under subscription agreements with affiliated news organizations throughout the country. The most important of those are Agéncia Folha, Agéncia Globo, Panorama Brasil, and Agéncia Estado. There is also a government-owned news agency, called Agéncia Brasil, and other regional news services.

Agéncia Estado, sponsored by the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, bills itself as the largest news agency in Brazil. It has hundreds of subscribers throughout the country, and sends out an average of 230 news items per day, plus photos. Besides using traditional wire technology, Agéncia Estado delivers news to clients through satellite links and the Internet.

Agéncia O Globo is sponsored by the newspaper O Globo, from Rio de Janeiro, and is associated with the TV Globo corporation. It was created in 1974, and distributes approximately 120 news items per day.

Agéncia Folha was created and is maintained by Folha de São Paulo, the largest daily newspaper in Brazil. It employs approximately 500 journalists, and has offices and correspondents spread throughout the country.

All major international news agencies, such as Reuters, Associated Press, and Agence France-Press, have offices in Brazil. The Associated Press, for example, has offices in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brasilia. Other news agencies that have offices in Brazil include EFE (Spain), ANSA (Italy), Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Ger-many), Kyodo Tsushin (Japan), and Xinhua (China).

Broadcast Media

Broadcasting airwaves are public in Brazil, and a federal government agency grants licenses to media companies operating radio and television stations. There are five large privately owned national television networks-TV Globo, SBT, TV Record, TV Bandeirantes, and TV Manchete, as well as hundreds of local and regional television stations (256 stations in 1992) operating under an affiliation system similar to the United States'.

Broadcast TV has an immense influence on virtually all aspects of Brazilian culture and society. Television programming is often a topic of conversation at school and in the workplace, in the house and among friends. Television is an extremely important source of information for Brazilians of every socio-economic stratum. Brazilians across the board refer to reports they have seen on Jornal Nacional-TV Globo's most watched evening newscast, or to the latest plot twist in one of the soap operas.

The introduction of cable, satellite and pay TV is a relatively recent (1990s) phenomenon, but these sectors' growth has been astounding. In 1993, only 0.8 percent of Brazilian households had pay TV, in contrast to 28 percent of homes in Argentina. A year later, the number had jumped to 2.3 percent, or 700,000 subscribers. In early 1996, Brazilian homes with cable TV neared 1.5 million. That number had doubled by March of 1998.

Radio ownership in Brazil follows a format similar to that of television. However, radio networks are a phenomenon of the twenty-first century. Until the turn of the century, most radio stations were still family owned. In April 1996, there were 1,822 radio stations in Brazil, and radio was still the most pervasive mass media in the country (88 percent of households).

The growth of television viewership in Brazil is a unique and impressive phenomenon yet to be completely explored. TV sets numbered only 200 in the entire country on September 18, 1950, when commercial broadcasting started in São Paulo. By the end of 1980, only 30 years later, there were estimated 20 million TV sets in the country. By that time, Brazil alone had more TV sets than the rest of Latin America combined. Television households increased from 7 percent in 1964 to 51 percent in 1979, and then again to 75 percent in 1990, easily reaching more than 80 percent by the end of the century. More recent data estimated a total of 36.5 million TV sets in Brazil, and 209 TV sets per 1,000 people in 2002. Television broadcasts now reach all of Brazil.

The growth of viewership in Brazil both was stimulated and reflected the huge industrialization process that took place in the country from the 1940s on. In 1954, the development of an autonomous national industry was made possible by the creation of the National Steel Company and its peripheral heavy equipment manufacturers.

Brazil is today the world's eighth largest economy. Although strangled by the largest foreign debt in the world, the country's economy presents signs of vitality, with a strong currency, inflation under control, and a record trade surplus. The middle class represents one third of the country's population of 170 million, making up the second largest market for TV and consumerism in the Western hemisphere.

Brazilian media organizations were clearly aware of the country's economic potential. They took full advantage of the "expansion and integration" process that led the military dictatorship to create the Empresa Brasileira de Telecomunicaçães (Brazilian Telecommunications Enterprise, or Embratel), in 1967, and to launch a development plan that, by 1986, had virtually every Brazilian covered under a satellite blanket.

Television Pioneers

The first Brazilian network, called TV Tupi, was established in São Paulo in 1950 by Diários e Emissoras Associados, a media conglomerate headed by journalist Assis Chateaubriand. A second TV Tupi station was launched in Rio de Janeiro on January 20, 1951. Diários e Emissoras Associados owned more than 30 daily newspapers, 18 TV stations and 30 radio stations. The conglomerate also had its own news agency, advertising agency, and some public relations firms. It published several magazines, including the influential O Cruzeiro, which was until 1967 the largest selling magazine in Latin America.

Television in Brazil was established following a trial and error pattern similar to the one experienced by American networks. Programming was adapted from other media, particularly radio and film. During the first years of Brazilian TV, there was little to no experimenting, television was a second-hand medium, absorbing formats which had their origins in radio, newsprint media, film, and theater. TV Tupi's broadcast included news, comedy and "filmed theater," or "teleplays."

Throughout the first half of the 1950s, television was a very elitist medium. Only a small percentage of the population (namely, wealthy families in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo) had television sets. Consequently, programming was directed to that segment of the population. The situation changed in 1955, when television lost its "novelty for the wealthy" appeal and became a household item. Around that time, it became common, for example, to present newlyweds with television sets. Aware of the new trend, TV Tupi's broadcast became more sensationalist.

During most of the 1950s, TV Tupi's leadership remained unchallenged. That situation changed in the 1960s, when three competing networksTV Excelsior, TV Record, and TV Globowere launched. TV Record, which chose to produce well-structured journalism and music programs, had a particularly great impact on the market.

TV Excelsior was born in 1964, already in the age of soap operas, and excelled in this genre and in musicals. TV Globo came to challenge the leader, also aiming its programming at the lower economic strata. Competition among four different TV networks, combined with economic expansion, stimulated television's growth. In 1950, viewership was limited to large cities, such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, due mostly to the cost of TV sets. But if sets were only 200 in 1950, in 1965 they were already 3 million, spread throughout the country.

Unlike other Latin American and European countries, where either monopolistic and/or government-owned broadcasting traditions were established, Brazil consolidated in the 1960s a major trend towards commercial television and multiple, privately-owned national networks, a format that had the American television system as its model and inspiration.

It was also in the 1960s that Brazilian television created its own specific style, best translated in the telenovela or simply novela (soap opera) genre. Interestingly enough, Colgate-Palmolive's line of cosmetics had been one of the major advertisers in 1940s Brazilian radio, when soap operas first became popular in the country. One of the reasons why Brazilian telenovelas were created by the networks was to provide a product in which advertisements could be placed. For ten years, Brazilian TV had struggled to find the right formats for its potential advertisers. Most shows were short in duration (15 minutes, on average), because of the conditions in which they were produced and broadcastvirtually every program aired was a live presentation. Even the early soap operas followed that format. Advertisers were reluctant to invest in a medium that failed to grip the audience's attention in a habit-forming fashion.

Throughout the 1960s, networks decided to resuscitate some of radio's most popular soap operas. Although soap operas had been a common staple of Brazilian broadcasting since the early 1950s, the Cuban drama Direito de Nascer (A Right to be Born), a radio favorite of the 1940s, is believed to have originated the telenovela audience phenomenon in Brazilian television. First aired on December 7, 1964, the soap opera experienced an overwhelming success which continued to its final daily installment, broadcast live from an over-crowded sports arena in Rio, in August of the following year.

TV Globo

TV Tupi dominated Brazilian television during the 1950s and 1960s, but in the 1970s and 1980s, TV Globo became the largest television network in the country. TV Globo, also known as Rede Globo (Globo Network) was, well into the 1990s, the world's most consistently watched private TV network.

In 1998, TV Globo was still the fourth largest network in the world, regularly attracting 55 percent of the country's audience, and about 70 percent of the advertising revenue. However, with the growth of cable and satellite television, Globo started to experience a decline in ratings, dipping just under half of the audience for the first time in almost 30 years.

As late as April 2002, Brazil's giant media organization was still one of the top five commercial television networks in the world, commanding an estimated daily viewership of 100 million people at prime time. Advertisers responded to this large number of viewers. In 1995, US$ 3.6 billion were spent in television advertising in Brazil, with an estimated half of that total ending up in TV Globo's coffers.

The network thrived during the military regime (1964-1985), when it received special treatment and financial incentives from successive governments. The conglomerate both reflected and legitimated the authoritarian regime's ideology of "development and national security."

TV Globo initially aimed its programming at the lower economic strata of the population, competing directly with then leader TV Tupi. By the end of the 1960s, Globo had succeeded in attracting a large audience, mostly in detriment of TV Tupi's audience. The rise of Globo in the popular preference coincided with the death of media mogul Assis Chateaubriand, which detonated a process of internal disputes and bad management that ended up by destroying TV Tupi, which went bankrupt in the 1970s.

Television critics have characterized Rede Globo's role at gaining public support for the military regimes as subtler than mere propaganda. Some of them have noticed that the first military governments (1964 to 1974) pursued exclusionary policies that led them to rely on continued repression to maintain hegemony.

The following period (1975 to 1985) marked a so-called transition from military to civilian rule. Legitimacy, then, had to be obtained more through the construction of cultural and ideological hegemony than through overt repression.

TV Globo played a key role in both periods. In the first one, widely watched telenovelas worked to create a positive, happy and optimistic image of the country and its people, when the so-called Brazilian 'economic miracle' was emphasized to support the idea that "Esse é um país que vai pra frente" ("This is a country that moves forward," a popular government slogan of the time).

In the second period, when loss of legitimacy due to economic recession led the military regimes to propose the alternative of transition to civilian rule, Rede Globo threw all the heavy weight of its news coverage to support indirect transition (a civilian president indirectly elected by an electoral college), as opposed to a president chosen by the popular vote. The main consequence of the tactic was a complete ignorance of the unprecedented popular demonstrations demanding diretas já (direct elections now).

The second largest Brazilian network, Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão (SBT), was launched in August 1981. Owned by game show host Silvio Santos, SBT has nine local stations, including its national broadcasting center in São Paulo, and 76 affiliated stations throughout the country. The network's programming is a mix of game shows, sensational journalism, soap operas (in-house productions and Mexican imports) and popular comedy shows.

SBT prides itself on being Brazil's second-largest network. The network's penetration is strongest in São Paulo. According to the Nielsen data furnished by SBT on its Internet home page, in 1997, the network had 30 percent of the advertising market share in São Paulo in 1995. Globo had 43 percent; Bandeirantes 11 percent; Manchete 10 percent; Record two percent and independent stations four percent.

It is worth noting that the third largest Brazilian television network, TV Record, is owned by Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, UCKG), an evangelical, revivalist Christian church that emerged in 1977, and that has now become one of the fastest-growing religious groups in the country.

In 1996, the UCKG owned TV Record and its 25 affiliates, besides 35 radio stations and two mass circulation newspapers. Its controversial leader, the self-appointed Bishop Edir Macedo, was investigated in the early 1990s for alleged links to a Colombian drug cartel, and has attracted the wrath of the all-powerful media mogul Roberto Marinho, who founded and, until the late-1990s, ran the Globo media empire. In the late 1990s, with its mix of sensationalism and crass programming, TV Record was seriously threatening the audience leadership of TV Globo in parts of the country.

Electronic News Media

Brazilian media ratings firm Ibope estimated in August 2001 that 20 percent of Brazilians living in urban areas had Internet access. According to Ibope and NetRatings (the Internet arm of the Nielsen ratings corporation), those numbers had put Brazil ahead of countries such as Spain and France, in terms of Internet users.

Comparatively, only 1.9 percent of Mexico's population was connected to the Internet in June 2001, according to the Organization for Economic Development & Cooperation. Widespread adoption of computers and the Internet by Brazilian consumers led the U.S. Yankee Group to predict that 42.3 million Brazilians will be surfing the Web by 2006.

As happens in other developed or emerging countries, most Internet users report using it to search for news and information. In fact, out of the three most popular Brazilian Web portals,, and the last one is not funded, sponsored or supported by a major news organization. News stories, however, play a very prominent part in the design and content of all of those sites.

Because of its cheap, global and "boundary-less" nature, the Internet has also become a very important (and in some cases the only) way of delivering unrestricted and uncensored news outside of particular countries and regions. Similarly, the Web has become the preferred news delivery medium for Brazilian expatriates wanting to keep up with current affairs back at home and for all other foreign users with social, economic and political interests in particular countries or regions.

Education & TRAINING

Journalism and mass media university programs became very popular in Brazil in the early 1980s. By the end of that decade, new university-trained journalists were fast replacing reporters and editors with no formal training in television and newspaper newsrooms across the country.

In the early 1990s, an overwhelming majority of practicing journalists had undergone university training in mass communications. Up to the previous decade, most journalists had been recruited out of political science, law, Portuguese, and sociology courses.

That change was partly due to the fact that in the 1980s, sindicatos dos jornalistas (journalists unions) pressured the federal government to recognize and accredit the profession. As a consequence, university programs strove to receive professional and government accreditation, and news organizations were pressured to hire more university-trained journalists.

A national organization called Intercom (short for Sociedade Brasileira de Estudos Interdisciplinares da Comunicação), congregates journalism educators and students in the country, promoting research and education in the field of mass communication.


Despite the country's inconsistent tradition as far as press freedom, Brazilian newspapers have developed throughout the 1980s and 1990s a keen sense of independence and social responsibility. As a result of that process, and of their newfound watchdog role, circulation and readership have been up, and Brazilian newspapers enter the twenty-first century with renewed hopes and high expectations.

The Brazilian democracy and the country's economy have been stable for more than a decade, and newspapers seem to be taking full advantage of economic prosperity and institutional stability. Although readership is still low, if compared to most industrialized countries, the most popular dailies reach an ever increasing audience, with the top four papers maintaining a combined circulation of 1.4 million copies daily. Both the broadcasting industry and the Internet have experienced an astounding growth in the 1990s and early 2000s, which also bodes very well for the future of these emergent technologies in Brazil.

Significant Dates

  • 1992: Newspapers play a very important role in exposing corruption and irregularities that lead to the impeachment of President Fernando Collor.
  • July 1997: Brazil enacts its new Telecommunications Code, which creates a new federal agency responsible for granting telecommunications licenses.
  • August 2001: An estimated 20 percent of Brazilians living in urban areas have access to news and information on the Internet.
  • April 2002: A bill proposing to open Brazilian mass media to foreign ownership is approved by the Chamber of Deputies and expected to be ratified by the Senate and the President.


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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Federative Republic of Brazil
Region: South America
Population: 172,860,370
Language(s): Portuguese, Spanish, English, French
Literacy Rate: 83.3%
Academic Year: January-December
Number of Primary Schools: 196,479
Compulsory Schooling: 8 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 5.1%
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 34,229,388
  Secondary: 6,405,057
  Higher: 1,716,263
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 125%
  Secondary: 56%
  Higher: 14%
Teachers: Primary: 1,413,607
  Secondary: 352,894
  Higher: 141,482
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 24:1

History & Background

The Federative Republic of Brazil is the only nation in South America whose language and culture derive from Portugal. The country was discovered by Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500. As the fifth largest country in the world, its territory covers an area of 3,300,171 square miles, which represents almost half of South America. With a population of almost 172 million people, Brazil is also the fifth most populated country.

Brazil is considered one of the world's most productive countries because of its great number of natural and mineral resources, metropolitan cities, developed industrial and hydroelectric complexes, and fertile soil. At the same time, Brazil is a country that historically has had to face many internal problems, such as the lack of political and economic stability, long periods of high inflation, and an unplanned population growth. These factors led Brazil to major educational problems.

The history of education in Brazil begins in the second half of the sixteenth century, when the Jesuits from the Companhia de Jesus (Company of Jesus) arrived in 1549. The Jesuits founded the first Brazilian elementary school in Salvador, in the state of Bahia. They followed the educational principles established in the Ratio Studiorum (a regulatory educational document written and promoted by Friar Inácio de Loyola). The Jesuits' work was driven not only by educational goals, but by a religious purpose as well: to spread the Christian faith among the indigenous population. For 210 years, the Jesuits were responsible for the entire educational system in Brazil. Their primary and secondary schools were of good quality, and some of the secondary schools even offered higher-level studies. The Jesuits also created many missions in Brazil to educate and catechize the indigenous people. These missions would help the people escape from slavery.

The first rupture in the history of the Brazilian educational system occurred in 1759 when the Jesuits were expelled from Portugal and its colonies by the Marquis of Pombal, King José I's minister. Pombal was trying to restore the Portuguese power in Europe. The Jesuit's religious educational system implemented in the colony conflicted with the Marquis's commercial interests. Pombal's idea was that education should serve the state, not the church. As an alternative to the Jesuit's system, Pombal created the subsídio literário (literary subsidy), a tax to finance elementary and secondary education, as well as the aulas régias, the teaching of Latin, Greek, and rhetoric. However, Pombal's new educational measures had no effect, and by the beginning of the nineteenth century, Brazil's educational system was stagnated.

Brazilian education and culture started to move forward in 1808, when the Portuguese royal family, escaping from the invasion of Napoleon's troops, transferred the Kingdom of Portugal to the colony. Although tailored to the Portuguese Court's immediate needs, King João VI's educational work started a period of undeniable achievements for education. He created a considerable number of schools and scientific institutions, the first public library, a number of technical teaching schools for professional training, and the first university courses in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. However, King João's educational policy, focusing on higher levels of education, neglected elementary schooling.

Brazil's educational policy was deeply affected by the country's independence in 1822. The Constitution of 1824 guaranteed free elementary education to all citizens, and the state created basic-level public schools in cities, towns, and villages. The state also decentralized the basic education system by promulgating the Additional Act in 1834. This act gave the provinces the power to determine legislation for elementary education, casting off the government's duty to grant free education for all.

In the first years of the newly formed Republic (1889), the decentralized educational policy was maintained, preventing the state from taking over the formulation and coordination of the elementary educational system. This lack of action by the government resulted in a greater social and educational gap between the popular classes and the elite. Since little attention was focused on public elementary education, only the favored members of the upper classes could afford to keep their children in private institutions.

The twentieth century was a period of transformation for education in Brazil. Influenced by European positivism, Brazilian educators adopted a series of reforms and laws that transferred the responsibility of administrating elementary schooling in the country back to the government. During the 1920s and 1930s, the first universities were created in Rio de Janeiro (1920), Minas Gerais (1927), Porto Alegre (1934), and São Paulo (1934). The first "real" Brazilian university was the University of São Paulo, created with the support and import of French and German scholars, following the French model for its structure.

A new constitution was promulgated in 1934, incorporating significant advances into the educational system. Both the government and the family were considered responsible for the elementary education of all citizens. In the 1940s, the educational system focused on the professional aspects of education. At this point, education in Brazil had the following structure: five years of elementary school, four years of secondary school, and three years of high school.

During the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, the educational system underwent some significant changes. Some of the important achievements of this period include the creation of CAPES or Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Coordination of Improvement of Higher Learning Personnel) in 1951; the CFE or Conselho Federal de Educação (Federal Council of Education) in 1961; campaigns and movements for eradicating adult illiteracy; and the approval of National Law 4024 (Lei de Diretrizes e Bases ) in 1961.

From 1964 to 1980, a military dictatorship ruled Brazil during this period of social and political upheaval. However, it was during this time that two of the most significant events of the history of Brazilian education took place: the creation of MOBRAL (Movimento Brasileiro de Alfabetização ), or the Brazilian movement for eradication of adult illiteracy, in 1970, and the approval of Law 5,692 in 1971. This law significantly changed the structure of higher learning (students could choose between a general or professional curriculum) and of elementary and secondary education (basic mandatory education was extended from four to eight years).

Despite a number of updates and amendments, the basic text of Law 5,692/71 was still in force in the 1990s. Also during that decade, the government created the National Program of Literacy and Citizenship in an effort to reduce the number of illiterate people in Brazil by up to 70 percent. A new model of elementary school, the CIAC (Centro Integrado de Educação Popular ), was also created. These CIACs were integrated centers to support children from low income families with education and food.

In 1995, the Brazilian government created an experimental program to evaluate the performance of university students called the provão (National Course Evaluation). The provão is an exam given the last semester prior to graduation. After a period of adaptation, it has become permanent. Eighteen subjects are included in this exam. In the year 2000, more than 2,700 university courses (around 203,000 students) were examined by the provão.

In 1997, the same program was extended to the high school level, creating the ENEN (Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio ), or National Secondary Education Examination. ENEN has become an important instrument to evaluate the performance of secondary level students. It provides students the necessary credentials for either continuing their university studies or for entering the job market. At the elementary school level, the SAEB (Sistema de Avaliação da Educação Básica ), or Evaluation System for Basic Education, is recognized worldwide as one of the most sophisticated procedures used in the evaluation of primary school performance. In testing the efficiency of schools and universities, the government aims to control and improve the quality of education throughout Brazil.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

The Constitution of 1824 established that basic education was a right of the citizen and an obligation of the state. Since then, all Brazilian constitutions have included free primary education as one of the basic needs the state must provide to the population. However, the Brazilian government became actively involved with educational constitutional rights only after the Revolution of 1930.

The Brazilian educational system was revolutionized by the promulgation of Law 5,692 on August 11, 1971. Unlike the preceding law (Law 4,024/61), Law 5,692/71 was very well received by the educational community for the amplitude of its articles and its promise of updating and expanding the teaching of primary and secondary education. The main changes implemented by Law 5,692/71 included: redefinition of the role of primary education (based on students' potentiality, citizenship consciousness, and working-skills development); free and mandatory primary education for children between the ages of 7 and 14; 8 years of schooling at the primary educational level; a national, unified primary level curriculum that would also take into consideration relevant individual and/or regional differences; ensino supletivo (primary and secondary educational opportunities for adult citizens), which is the equivalent of the GED in the United States; and rules for teaching and financing (on federal, state, and municipal levels).

Elementary education in Brazil is free in all state schools and compulsory for all citizens between the ages of 7 and 14. Secondary education is not compulsory, but it is still free. Nevertheless, the free and mandatory basic educational system has not prevented two serious educational problems derived from social and regional inequalities: illiteracy and child labor. Although the number of illiterate people has decreased over the last 20 years, the illiteracy rate in Brazil during the 1990s was still significant (approximately 16 percent in 1993). According to a U.S. Department of State report on human rights (February 2001), recent governmental figures from Brazil state that the number of children working has decreased since 1993, conversely increasing the number of children attending school. The Brazilian federal government administers 33 programs to combat child labor. The Ministry of Labor's program for the eradication of child labor provided supplemental income to 147,000 families in rural areas, who in return were required to send their children to school. Similar programs administered by municipalities benefit another 202,000 children living in the major urban cities.

The most recent educational objectives of the Brazilian educational system, started in the 1990s, are still based on the main changes established by Law 5,692/71. Nevertheless, there were some innovations and pledges included in the Constitution of 1988. Infantile education was seen as a preliminary step towards schooling. The state must provide day care for a variable number of hours and kindergarten (not mandatory) for the underprivileged. Public universities must offer free, high-level quality courses and promote research. The state must support poor students with food, books, transportation, and health care. Additionally, special attention must be paid to students who suffer any kind of physical or mental disability.

Other important legal tools for education are: Law 9,131 of 1995; constitutional amendment 14 of 1996; the National Educational Guidelines and Framework Law 9,393 of 1996 (Lei de Diretrizes e Bases-LDB ); and the FUNDEF (National Education Fund), Law 9,424/1996. Other legal tools include decrees and administrative rulings that regulate the LDB; in addition, recommendations and resolutions issued by the National Council of Education contain important legal information.

Educational SystemOverview

Brazil has 26 states and the Federal District. The educational system is a collaborative organization between federal, state, and municipal government organizations. The federal government, through the Ministry of Education (also known as the MECMinistério da Educação with the "C" appearing as an initial because the MEC was also previously in charge of Culture), is responsible for legislation and financial assistance. It is in charge of the federal universities, middle school technological education, and technical and agricultural high schools. Eight years of fundamental schooling is now compulsory.

Preprimary & Primary Education

Preschool Education: Preschool is designed to provide physical, psychological, and intellectual development for children under the age of six. It complements family education. There are day care nurseries for children who are up to three-years-old, and kindergartens for those age four to six. This system started with the Constitution of 1988 and is fostered by the municipalities. Although emphasized by the government, its implementation reaches only 17.5 percent of the population. The enrollment was 5.9 percent in 1980 and rose to 17.4 percent in 1989.

Special Education: Special education is offered from preschool to secondary level. Support for special education is provided by the Ministry of Education, by the state, by some municipal secretariats, and by nongovernmental organizations. Depending on the kind of program, an institution might include rehabilitation centers, clinics, hospitals, and more. According to 1989 statistics, 63 percent of the special education students were mentally retarded, 14.4 percent had hearing problems, 9.3 percent were physically handicapped, and 4.4 percent had visual deficiencies. There is much interest in aiding blind students or those with subnormal vision at an early stage to increase academic performance.

Elementary Education: Elementary education is called escola de primeiro grau (first degree schooling). It is constitutionally mandatory for students aged 7 to 14. Its main objectives are to develop reading, writing, and calculating; to understand natural laws and social relations in contemporary society; and to develop the capacity of thinking and creating. State Councils of Education structure the elementary school curricula. The curriculum includes: communication and expression (Portuguese language); social studies (geography, history, and social and political organization); and sciences (mathematics and biological). In 2001, about 91 percent of students from seven to fourteen had access to schooling. Recent data indicates that about half of first graders fail, which causes about 2.3 percent of them to abandon school. This index reaches 32 percent by the end of the fourth grade.

A public educational policy for indigenous schools exists to prepare teachers to teach the native people, to produce didactic material, and to disseminate indigenous themes in schools. Indigenous education is part of the Constitution of 1988. Children go to school half a day, either in the mornings or in the afternoons. In 1984, the state government of Rio de Janeiro created the Centro Integrado de Educação Popular or CIEP (integrated center for popular education) for the poorer population. The purpose was to keep the students busy eight hours every day with instruction, sports, medical assistance, food, and cultural activities. These schools were especially built with a uniform architectonic project and were easily recognizable. This idea was followed by the government of President Fernando Collor de Melo under the name Centro Integrado de Atendimento à Criança (CIAC). Although the idea was excellent, its costs were too high and there were not enough qualified teachers and staff. The project slowly faded, with pieces of it being picked up by other programs.

At the turn of the millennium, the government was placing major emphasis on elementary education. In 1996, the Constitutional Amendment 4 created Fundo e Manutenção e Desenvolvimento do Ensino Fundamental e Valorização do Magistério or FUNDEF (Fund for Maintenance and Development of Basic Teaching and Valuation). One of the purposes of this fund was to train teachers and raise their salaries. The average national salary increase was 13 percent, 50 percent in the municipal systems.

The Programa Nacional do Livro Didático or PNLD (National Textbook Program) was broadened and renovated, and in 1999, about 110 million books that had been selected by the teachers themselves were distributed to elementary schools from the first to the fourth grade. Throughout the country, there is an ongoing pedagogical evaluation, which started in 1996. The Secretaria de Educação Fundamental (SEF) prepares the Guia de Livros Didáticos, a guide to help choose the right books and to ease the teacher's task.

Adult Education: Adult education is remedial schooling. The minimum age is 18 for the elementary level and 21 for the secondary level. The Ministry of Education and the state secretariats provide support for this kind education through special courses, equivalent to the American GED, that can be taken in schools or online. Supervision is handled by state boards of education and inspection services. For the students who successfully complete the course, a diploma is granted.

Popular Education: Popular education is a new concept of teaching created by the educator Paulo Freire. His method was successful in teaching literacy in 40 hours of classes without any didactic material. He conceived education within the existential reality. For him, reading and writing is a social praxis. Dialogue is the key for interaction between teacher and students.

Freire's model revolutionalized traditional schoolroom teaching, transforming adult education into a healthy approach for those students who come to class already knowing what they want and need to learn. His model is reflected in the work of adult educators in the United States and in other countries, principally in Africa. Paulo Freire's main books are Cultural Action for Freedom (1970), Education as the Practice of Freedom (1976), and Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1993). This model is called "educación popular" in Latin America, "andragogy" by Malcolm Knowles, or "action learning" by learner-centered education proponents. Jane Vella, an educator who adapted Friere's model, explains the characteristics of popular education as:

learner's participation in naming content via needs assessment, mutual respect, dialogue between learner and teacher and among learners, achievement-based learning objectives, small-group work to engage learners and to provide safety, visual support and psychomotor involvement, accountability of the teacher to do what he or she proposes, student participation in the evaluation of program results, a listening attitude on the part of teachers and resource people, and learning by doing. (Vella 1995)

Professional Education: Professional education treats the needs of local and regional markets. The curriculum is modularthat is, organized in units as short courses that can be taken by the student in between his or her working schedule at different times. The technical and professional schools issue diplomas are for the job market, mainly in industry and agriculture. The market has been giving clear signals that without a secondary diploma the candidate will not get a good job.

Across Brazil, 2.8 million students are enrolled in professional education; 24.1 percent are in industry courses, followed by agriculture, and commerce. There are 33,000 professional education courses, 83.5 percent are on the basic level. There are 5,000 technical and 433 technological courses. Computer science is the most requested course. In total, 3,948 institutions offer these courses, 2,216 of which are technical.

Professional education takes place on three different levels: Basic: courses for young and adult workers. They do not demand previous schooling and its goal is to qualify the student; Technical: for young and adult students who are taking or have already finished their secondary education. Receiving a diploma demands having finished 11 years of basic schooling; Technological: this provides higher education on the undergraduate and graduate level.

Secondary Education

According to Law 9,394 of December 20, 1996, secondary schooling is the final stage of basic education. From 1990 to 1998, the enrollment in secondary schools almost doubled, from 3.5 million to 6.9 million students. The yearly increase averaged 11.5 percent.

In 2001, a major reform was being undertaken by the government at the secondary level that focused on contextualization, curricular integration, and flexibility. The reform was established along three lines: it was based on the new federal law of Diretrizes e Bases (Directives and Bases); it focused on changing the curriculum in the secondary schools; and it placed an emphasis on the occupational content of the technical schools.

The basic secondary school's objectives are: to consolidate previous acquired knowledge; to prepare the student for high school or technical professions; and to teach the student how to relate theory to practice. The curriculum is organized by the Conselho Federal de Educac̨ão or CFE (Federal Council of Education) together with the Conselho Estadual de Educação or CEE (State Council of Education). Individual schools can select additional subjects.

The curriculum has the same basic subjects as in the elementary school: communication and expression, including a foreign language as well as Portuguese; social studies; and sciences. The curriculum includes five to six subjects, and Portuguese is obligatory. In addition, the curriculum has become more flexible over time75 percent is established by the government on a national basis, and 25 percent is left to each school's discretion.

There is still a low rate of students attending secondary schoolonly 16 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 19 participates. There is an age variation-many youngsters in this age span are still attending elementary school. Many students arrive at the secondary level when they are young adults because they have to work and complement the family's salary. Therefore, secondary schools have become in large part evening schools; 55 percent of the secondary level students enrolled in 1998 attended classes at night.

Higher Education

Compared to other Latin American countries, Brazil has not only a respectable number of universities, but they are also better equipped than other countries. In the 1960s it launched a major program to award graduate degrees.

The university system is made up of public (federal or state), Catholic, and private institutions. The structure comprises universities, faculdades (colleges), and isolated institutions. The purpose of higher education in Brazil is to implement teaching, research, and extension, although research is principally done in federal institutions. Universities also offer short training courses in many different subjects, serving the university population as well as the community. Private higher education has increased excessively in the last 20 years, creating 300,000 new vacancies for students. As a result, there has been a decrease of quality in these institutions, especially because they are profit-oriented.

The main objective of higher education is to professionalize students. This differs from the American system in which the student goes to college to acquire a general education then opts for professionalization. In Brazil the student immediately selects law school (a five-year course) or medicine (six years).

There are 127 universities in Brazil, 68 of which are public. Of the 894 institutions of higher education, 222 are public. Higher education careers are integrated in blocks (criteria used by CAPES) as follows: Ciências Biológicas e Saúde (Biological and Health Sciences), Ciências Exatas da Terra (Exact Sciences), Ciências Humanas e Sociais (Human and Social Sciences), Ciências Sociais Aplicadas (Applied Social Sciences), and Engenharias e Tecnologias (Engineering and Tecnologies).

In 1997, there were 1,945,000 students enrolled in higher education; in 2000 this number increased to 2,125,958. Women comprise 55 percent of the total number. It is estimated that 3 millions students will be enrolled by the year 2002. Once enrolled, 64.2 percent of the students who begin a course in higher education graduate. Most of these students study in private institutions, their average age is 25, and 53 percent of the students are 24 years old when they initiate their graduate studies.

As of 1998 the five largest universities in the country were: Universidade Paulista (state of São Paulo), 44,598 students; Universidade de São Paulo (city of São Paulo), 35.662; Unisinos (Rio Grande do Sul), 25,269; Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro), 24,971; and Pontifícia Universidade Católica (Minas Gerais), 22,434.

In order to be accepted in a university, students have to pass a competitive entrance exam called vestibular. As long as they have finished their secondary education and have a diploma, grades do not factor into university selection. This gives an advantage to socially privileged students who get extra help from private instruction or teachers and do not have to work while studying. This system actually creates a social discrepancy, because rich students end up in federal universities that are free, while lower-income students enter private universities that are paid. In 2001, governmental measures were being launched in order to transform the system. Some universities had started making their own individual vestibular, and others had begun taking grades into consideration.

The Federal Education Council (CFE) determines the minimum curriculum and time allotment for the different courses. Each institution has the freedom to include additional subjects. Under the presidency of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a new legislation to evaluate the performance of institutions was introduced that required students to take an examination at the end of their courses. Those exam results, together with the evaluation of committees of specialists designated by the Ministry of Education, were expected to show how well the institutions and courses were performing. That evaluation would provide the government with data that would help it know where and how to best allocate money and efforts. Additionally, undergraduate teaching was prioritized, as investments totaling 70 million dollars were made to upgrade libraries, computers, and information technology.

In the Constitution of 1988 it was determined that student loans, previously financed by the Fundo de Assistência Social (Social Assistance Fund), were to be allocated from the resources of the Ministry of Education and administered by the Caixa Econômica Federal. The loans are mainly used by students to pay for tuition through monthly installments.

A financing program called Financiamento Estudantil (FIES) was created in 1999. Approximately 700 higher education institutions throughout the country have participated. In 2001, some 102,000 students received aid from this program, with total resources approaching $225 million.

Graduate schools have always been the jewel of Brazilian education. In the 1950s, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations gave grants to bring Brazilian students to the United States for their graduate studies. Since then, funds are given by several public agencies to finance graduate studies abroad and at home; these agencies include FINEP, FAPESP, CNPQ, and CAPES.

Many universities have their own master's and doctorate programs. Graduate programs are evaluated every two years and, according to their performance, receive public funds in larger or lesser amounts to promote research and pay fellowships for their students. In 1994, there were 18,900 students working on doctorate degrees; in 1999, that number jumped to 29,900an increase of 58 percent.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Administration: The Brazilian Constitution (1988) stated that education is the duty of the state and that its principle aim would be the total development of the individual, including his or her preparation to exercise citizenship and to qualify for work. The administration of the educational system by the federal government, the states, the Federal District, and the municipalities would follow a number of constitutional principles. For example, it is the responsibility of the Brazilian government to conduct a census of elementary school students, to publicize the enrollment process, and to be responsible, jointly with the parents or guardians, for students attending school.

Private teaching enterprise is allowed by the Brazilian constitution, provided it complies with the general rules of Brazilian education. The state must authorize and guarantee the quality of education provided by any private institution.

The different parts of the federal governmentincluding the Ministry of Education, the states, the Federal District, and the municipalitiescooperate in the organization of the Brazilian educational system. The federal government organizes and finances the federal educational system of the states and of the territories. It grants technical and financial assistance to the states, the Federal District, and the municipalities for the development of their educational systems and provides compulsory schooling on a priority basis. Municipalities act on a priority basis in elementary and preschool education. It is the responsibility of the federal government to manage federal universities, public higher learning institutions, federal centers for secondary technological education, and a number of agricultural and technical high schools. The states direct most of the day cares, kindergarten schools, some elementary and secondary schools, and the state universities. The municipalities act on a more basic level, controlling most of the primary schools, some day cares, and kindergarten schools.

Each educational system is managed by an executive body. In the federal sphere, the Conselho Nacional de Educação (Nacional Council of Education) establishes the working rules. The Ministry of Education handles political issues, such as planning and administrative decisions. On the state level and in the Federal District, regulatory functions belong to the Conselho Estadual de Educação (CEE). Administrative functions, as well as the control of private education at the primary and secondary levels, are managed by the Secretaria Estadual de Educação or SEE (State Secretariats of Education). In the municipalities, the Conselho Municipal de Educação or CME (Municipal Council of Education) and the local secretariats or departments of education are responsible for regulatory and administrative functions. Each system is autonomous and hires personnel by means of competitive public examinations, and each manages their resources within certain rules and principles. The federal government, the state, the Federal District, and the municipalities must organize a yearly national plan to integrate actions aimed at the coordination and development of education on various levels.

Finance: Each year the federal government is mandated to apply no less than 18 percent of public expenditures on education. In reality, about 5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) is applied. The Federal District, states, and municipalities must apply at least 25 percent of their tax revenues, including those resulting from transfers from the federal government. The federal government contributes 20 percent, the state contributes 50 percent, and the municipalities, 30 percent. Supplementary food and health assistance programs must be financed with funds derived from social contributions and other budgetary funds. An additional contribution called salário educação (education salary) is made by companies and constitutes another source of funds for public elementary education. Companies that maintain an in-house educational program for their own employees and dependents may deduct from this fund the amount of money invested in elementary education.

Public funds are allocated to public schools. They may also be allocated to community, religious, or philanthropic schools as long as they prove that they do not seek profit and that they invest their funds in education. These institutions must ensure that their equity is assigned to another community, philanthropic, or religious school, or to the government in case they cease their activities. Funds can also be allocated to elementary and secondary school scholarships for those who are needy, or for whenever a student must attend a private school because there are no vacancies or regular courses at the appropriate level in the public school system nearest to the student's residence. In such cases, the government is required to invest, on a priority basis, in the expansion of its network in that area.

Research & Technology: Brazilian universities are autonomous. They enjoy didactic, scientific, administrative, and financial autonomy, as well as fair management. However, they must follow the principles of coherent teaching, research, and advanced study, which makes them eligible to receive financial support from the government and/or private sponsors. In 2001, one of the problems that the federal universities facedand which was in the process of being reformedwas the lack of freedom the administrators had to reassign resources. Changing this system would increase flexibility and provide greater autonomy to the universities. However, the matter required a constitutional change, so in the meantime, other legal instruments were being used to ease this problem.

Although educational research in Brazil is conducted by different institutions (universities, institutes, research centers, etc.), research activities are concentrated at public universities. In 1993, some 99 institutions were officially involved in all areas of research. That number more than doubled in 2000 to over 200, and 80 percent of the almost 12,000 groups involved in academic research belonged to public universities.

According to the results of a census organized by the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa or CNPq (National Council of Research) that polled all of the groups involved with academic research in Brazil in the year 2000: 57.0 percent of those groups conducted their work in the southeast region of Brazil, 31.0 percent in São Paulo, and 16.0 percent in Rio de Janeiro; 11.5 percent were affiliated with the Universidade de São Paulo (University of São Paulo); 27 percent of the studies concentrated on the humanities; the most studied fields were health (31 percent) and education (30 percent); 79.5 percent of the groups started their research between 1995 and 2000.

In total, 10 percent of the research conducted by these groups resulted in high quality work, according to international standards. Considering the fact that most of these research groups (almost 60 percent) were still in the formative stages in 2001, the Brazilian government considered the results satisfactory. The most traditional research institutions in Brazil are the independent public agencies CAPES, CNPq, FINEP, FAPESP, and FAPERJ, and two private foundationsFundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and Fundação Carlos Chagas (FCC) in São Paulo.

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior or CAPES (Coordination of Improvement of Higher Learning Personnel) is a public entity linked to the Ministry of Education. It was created in 1951 as a program (campanha ) and transformed into a foundation (fundação ) in 1992. CAPES is responsible for the graduate policies and the coordination of education and research on this level by granting scholarships and aid. It is responsible for the formation of highly qualified human resources to teach at the university level, to perform research, and to fulfill professional demands and needs in public and private sectors. CAPES has a system of course evaluation that is highly respected by other national institutions.

The Instituto Nacional de Estudos Pedagógicos or INEP (National Institute for Pedagogical Studies), a national institute for educational studies and research, is an independent entity responsible for obtaining, evaluating, and storing the country's education information. It created the Sistema Nacional de Avaliação da Educação Básica or SAEB (Evaluation System for Basic Education) to evaluate the performance of elementary and secondary schools. Another innovation is the Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio or ENEM (National Secondary Education Examination), which is used to evaluate, give credentials, and promote further studies on entry into the labor market. The exam for higher education (ENC) includes 18 higher-level subjects and 2,700 courses. In 1992, the state of Minas Gerais, took the initiative and created a comprehensive system, testing every school in the state.

INEP's major policies are designed to implement a new funding model for basic education (FUNDEF), to transfer funds directly to public schools (the "Money at School" Program), to expand and decentralize the National School Meal Program, to implement the Minimum Income Program (an education grant), to develop the Integrated System of Educational Information (SIEd), and to expand the Nordeste (Northeast) Project through the Basic Education and School Empowerment Fund (FUNDESCOLA).

Nonformal Education

The Brazilian educational system has faced many problems throughout its almost 500 years of existence. As a means of finding solutions in this crucial area, the government has developed a considerable number of nonformal and/or informal educational programs.

The federal government has industrial and agricultural technical schools throughout the country. Business associations operate other institutions, such as Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial or SENAI (National Industrial Apprenticeship Service), and Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Comercial or SENAC (National Commercial Apprenticeship Service). They correspond to primary and secondary schools and are free of tuition. Training for managers and employers of small business is provided by Serviço de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas or SEBRAE (Service to Support Small Enterprises).

The international community considered the creation of SENAC and SENAI in the early 1940s as a pioneering model for Latin America's educational system. These successful Brazilian institutions offered commercial and industrial training programs, which were adopted by other countries due to their high quality.

Most of the nonformal systems of education in Brazil in the 1960s and 1970s were designed for adult education in an attempt to eradicate illiteracy. Paulo Freire's Movimento de Cultura Popular or MCP (Movement of Popular Culture), Projeto Minerva (a radio broadcast program), Movimento Brasileiro de Alfabetização or MOBRAL (Illiteracy Program), and Programa Nacional de Teleducação or PRONTEL (National Program of Television Education) are examples of programs developed during this period.

In the beginning of the 1990s, universities and technical schools started offering a number of short training courses on a diverse variety of subjects, from soccer to philosophy. Currently, in the major cities, both private and public institutions offer programs on secondary level administration and computer programming. There is also competition among private institutions to offer courses in foreign languages and preparation for international examinations like the GRE, the GMAT, and the TOEFL. Additional nonformal governmental projects held by the Secretaria de Educação Fundamental or SEF (Secretariat of Fundamental Education) include the establishment of a public educational policy for indigenous schools and the expansion of the curriculum of elementary and secondary schools to include environmental issues.

Contemporary technology has also affected the non-formal education sector in others ways. In the past decade, numerous online educational programs were launched in Brazil. These programs provide students with a demanding, creative, and interactive online learning environment. The UNB (University of Brasília) is one of the governmental institutions that offer a variety of online courses.

On an international level, the Ministry of Education maintains intense technical and financial cooperation to improve educational needs and human resources. It works in close contact with the Ministério das Relaço~es Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Productive results have been attained through contact with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), OEA (Organization of the American States), OEI (Organization of Iberian-American States), BID (Inter-American Development Bank), and BIRD (World Bank). The Ministry of Education also participates in the meetings of the Ministers of Education, in the meetings of Ministers of Education of the community of countries speaking the Portuguese language, in the meetings for Ministers of Education of the Inter-American Council of integral development of the OEA, and in the Conference of Iberian-American Education of OEI.

Distance Education: At the start of the twenty-first century, the Brazilian federal government created the Secretaria de Educação a Distância or SEED (Secretariat of Distance Education). This is an example of the government's commitment to modernizing education. SEED strategically applies new technologies and methodologies in order to diversify and raise the standard of education quality.

Television is a major vehicle for education. Distance learning is done with the help of the TV Escola (TV School), which reaches 60,000 schools. It is broadcast on a special channel by satellite and provides four hours of programs that are repeated four times a day. TV Escola is also a program designed for teachers and is updated by the Reforma do Ensino Médio or REM (Reform of Secondary Education). It was created in October of 1999 as an experimental program and proved to be one of the most efficient tools that the Ministry of Education had for updating the methods and resources of primary and secondary level teachers.

Both public and private TV stations offer courses and support programs for basic education. Telecurso 2001, for example, which is broadcast by TV Globo, is a program intended to prepare students for elementary and secondary school equivalency examinations.

The Programa Nacional de Informática na Educação or ProInfo (National Program for Information Technology in Education), created in 1977, was a program established to train teachers and improve learning through computer technology. Approximately 30,000 computers had been installed in more than 2,000 schools. In 2001, this program was expected to reach 6,000 schools, or 7.5 million students, with a total of 100,000 computers. The pedagogical use of technological equipment is assured by means of the proper training of the teachers of the benefited schools and by linking these computers to the Núcleo de Tecnologia Educacional or NTE (Nucleus of Educational Technology). Nearly 20,000 teachers have already been trained for this program and 223 NTEs have been created.

Recognizing the need for skilled educators, a national plan for the expansion of nonformal education was created in 2001 called Proformação-Programa de Formação de Professores em Exercício. It is an educational program designed for teachers. The program started in January of 2000 in the states of Amazonas and Bahia and provided training for teachers from the public network who did not meet the established minimum qualification standards required by law. The government plans to qualify 15,000 teachers from the public network.

Programa de Apoio à Pesquisa em Educação a Distância or PAPED (Program to Aid Research in Distance Education) is also an important program for the development of educational alternatives. It was created in 1997 to finance theses and dissertations on long-distance learning projects and/or on new information and communication technologies applied to education.

Teaching Profession

It was only in the second half of the nineteenth century that Brazilian federal legislation opened the first professional teaching schools (Curso Normal ). Male teachers tended to concentrate their training at the secondary level, with an emphasis on subject area specialties. Female teachers tended to be relegated to the primary level. This situation lasted until the mid-1930s, when new legislation created the Magistério, a well-defined teaching certification course. Entrance into this program required the completion of all eight grades of primary school. At that time, a primary level education was the minimum requirement for teaching primary school. Subsequently, in the 1950s, secondary level teachers were required to have a college degree.

Census figures from the 1970s and 1980s revealed that teaching, particularly in the early primary levels of education, was an underpaid occupation, although educators were required to invest considerable time in their professional training and credentials. Wage figures for the 1990s are not very different from previous decades. In the state of São Paulo, for instance, the average salary was 5.3 times the national minimum salary for male secondary level teachers and 1.9 times the national minimum salary for females.

Eighteen percent of the Brazilian gross national product is spent on education, with the greater part of this expenditure going to federal universities that do not charge tuition or fees. In 1997, the average beginning primary school teacher earned an average monthly salary of less than US$200 (this figure was US$223 for teachers in the state of São Paulo).

In addition to widespread undercompensation, teaching conditions are also difficult. Despite the low wages earned, many teachers work two shifts per day, usually at two different schools. This tight schedule barely provides the minimum salary necessary for survival, and it does so at tremendous cost to teachers and classrooms. Teaching double shifts generally means that teachers have to be prepared for teaching almost 10 classesor 350 studentsa day. Teaching under such conditions has compromised the quality of instruction and led teachers to long term union strikes over the last few decades.

Brazil has powerful teacher's unions. During the 1980s and 1990s, they leaned politically to the left, creating monopolies in forums and conferences and also creating the so-called "ideological patrols." The most active teacher's unions are the regional Sindicato dos Professores (SINPROs), Sindicato Nacional e Democrático dos Professores (SINDEP), and Associação Nacional de Docentes de Ensino Superior (ANDES).


In the 1960s, the so-called "Brazilian economic miracle" accelerated the development of the economy, but education was on a slow pace. This changed radically toward the end of the last century because government realized that growth and productivity are linked to education. Quality was a main concern due to regional disparities in the country. Technology and educational improvement needed to be made to meet the demands of the job market.

In 1999, the number of students in higher education in all of Latin America was 5.6 percent of the population. In Brazil, only half of the students finished elementary school, therefore only a small number of students went to middle and high school. Few students made it into higher education. In 1990, there was just over one vacancy in higher education for each student who finished high school.

Claudio de Moura Castro (2000) points out the advancements made in the 1990s and the necessary steps for the further development of the Brazilian educational system. Some of his considerations are as follows: of those aged seven to fourteen, 97 percent are enrolled in schools. This means that illiteracy is no longer a major issue; In 1998, 63 percent of the students finished elementary school; approximately eight million students attend secondary school, therefore, the number of students applying to higher education has risen at a considerable rate.

Brazil has advanced and has a balanced educational system. But, illiteracy must be reduced. Elementary school still has to improve in quality, consolidating universal access to primary education. Teachers have to be better prepared and paid to meet this challenge. The legislation of higher education has to meet contemporary needs: there have been only a few attempts to implement community colleges, and a country as large as Brazil needs to have more courses offered by distance education (à distância ) using modern technology. New legislation and decentralization would ease the burden imposed by too many inflexible rules. More money has to be allocated by the federal, state, and municipal governments for the advancement of education. Nevertheless, in comparison to the past, Brazil has taken gigantic steps.

The government is working on current targets and future perspectives. It created a Ten-Year Plan (1993-2003) and redefined the Political Strategic Plan (1955-98) to improve the quality of teaching and to better institutional performance. As the Minister of Education, Paulo Renato Souza (April 11, 2000) states:

Education today can no longer be carried out only in the stages of infancy and youth. Professional updating must be permanent, given the speed of technological evolution. As professional careers are less rigid and clear-cut, they require a very high degree of interdisciplinarity and flexibility in the curricular structure of courses. Incorporating the new technologies of information and communication is crucial and should stimulate the growing use of distance learning as a means of guaranteeing access to professional training and updating.

The Brazilian education system has made important advances since 1995. In educational terms, the government seems to be falling into step with the rest of the world. Since 1995, there has been an expansion in access to elementary education. The proportion of children enrolled in school considerably increased in 1999, as four million new students were added to the system.

Age and grade distortion rates continue to be high in Brazil47 percent of students could be in higher grades. Nevertheless, Brazil is trying to improve its performance at the elementary education level. The promotion rate, which measures the number of students who are promoted to a higher grade, also increased from 65 percent in 1995 to 73 percent in 1997. During this same period, the number of students repeating a grade fell from 30 percent to 23 percent. The dropout rate also decreased, from 5.3 percent to 3.9 percent.

The expectation of finishing the first level of education has risen to 63 percent, and the average time taken to pass through the eight grades has fallen from 12 to 10 years. Secondary educational level enrollment rose to 57 percent between 1994 and 1999. In 1999 alone, the growth rate was of 11.5 percent. This increase in secondary school enrollments may be explained by the improvements in fundamental education and the increasing demand for better-educated people in the job market.

Regional inequalities are diminishing as well. In the northeast region, enrollment in elementary education has grown by about 27 percent, as compared to 13 percent countrywide. In secondary education, it has increased 62 percent compared to a previous national figure of 57 percent. In the last four years, higher education enrollment has grown in absolute terms more than in the previous 14 years. In 1998, the growth rate was 28 percent more than in 1994.

There has also been marked growth at the graduate level in Brazil. Between 1994 and 1999 the number of students at the master's level increased by 27 percent. The rate at the doctorate's level was even more impressivearound 60 percent. Brazil is producing 14,500 graduates at master's level and 4,600 doctorates per year.

Considering all enrollments at all levels of education, Brazil had approximately 54.3 million students in 2001. One third of Brazil's population was attending school. Public schools were meeting the learning needs of 45.8 million students at the basic educational level, which represents 87.8 percent of all students.


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Monica Rector and Marco Silva

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Federative Republic of Brazil

República Federativa do Brasil



Located in South America, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China, and the United States. Brazil has an area of 8,511,965 square kilometers (3,286,482 square miles), extending 4,320 kilometers (2,684 miles) from north to south and 4,328 kilometers (2,689 miles) from east to west, and a total coastline of 7,491 kilometers (4,655 miles). Brazil borders all the countries of South America except Chile and Ecuador. Brazil's capital city, Brasília, is located in the country's midwest; its largest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, are located in the southeast.


The population of Brazil was approximately 172.86 million in July 2000, which was an increase of 17.7 percent from the 1991 population of 146.83 million. In 2000 the birth rate was estimated at 18.84 births per 1,000, and the death rate at 9.37 deaths per 1,000. The population growth rate declined by an average of 1.9 percent annually between 1980-1990, to 0.94 percent in 2000, reflecting the effect of birth control programs developed by the Brazilian government during the 1990s. It was forecasted that the population would reach approximately 190 million by the year 2010.

Brazil is the most populous country in Latin America and the fifth most populous country in the world. The highest concentration of Brazilians live in the Atlantic coastal region. Of the total population, the states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo contain approximately 41 percent; the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Bahia, Pernambuco, and Ceará contain about 23 percent; and the remaining states hold about 36 percent. The population is extremely urbanized with 78 percent of the population living in cities. Approximately 29 percent of the population is between 0-14 years old, 66 percent is between 15-64 years old, and only 5 percent is over 65 years old.

About 55 percent of the Brazilian population is comprised of whites, the descendants of Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish, and Polish immigrants; 38 percent are mixed white and black; 6 percent are blacks of African descent; and others comprise 1 percent. Immigration was a major determinant of the population structure in Brazil. During colonial times, Portuguese and Africans immigrated to the northeastern region of Brazil. During the period between 1821-1945, approximately 5.2 million Europeans immigrated to Brazil, settling in the southern agricultural regions. After World War I, the Japanese community in Brazil grew to become the largest expatriate Japanese group of the world, with more than 1 million immigrants.


Before World War II Brazil was the leading world producer of many agricultural goods. Sugar, rubber, and coffee were important exports. However, price variations in the world market for these commodities left the Brazilian economy vulnerable. After the war, the government succeeded in rapidly industrializing the economy in order to diversify and decrease its dependency on imported goods. Brazil became one of the only industrialized nations of South America and an important exporter of manufactured goods. Industry and agriculture are today the country's major economic sectors. However, the country's growing prosperity was offset by the inflation caused by budget deficits .

Brazil is unable to produce enough oil to meet domestic demand, and needs to import most heavy industrial machinery and equipment. The government provides incentives for domestic petroleum production, and gives legal and fiscal incentives promoting foreign investment in heavy industry. Multinationals dominate Brazilian industry, followed by government-owned companies. The biggest government-owned company is Petróleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, an oil drilling and processing company. Brazil has oil reserves located on the coast and in the Amazon Basin. The geography and topography are also extremely beneficial to agriculture. Most of the country has either a tropical or subtropical climate. Extensive water reserves provide for the growth of grains, which are extensive enough to meet domestic consumption and allow for substantial exports.

Government external debt more than doubled during the 1980s and 1990s. Total outstanding and disbursed debt grew from US$61.3 billion in 1979, to US$114.5 billion in 1989, and to US$221.8 billion in 1999. The increase in government debt was due mainly to increased interest paid to its lenders and the borrowing of new money to implement economic and social plans in the country. However, because the new loans were used ineffectively, the debt service increased significantly. By making bigger payments to offset the debt, the government was left with few resources to carry on its own economic and social development plans. Total debt service (the interest paid on loans) increased from US$11.3 billion in 1979, to US$14.1 billion in 1989, and to US$73.7 billion in 1999.

The Brazilian government follows International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic, fiscal, and social objectives in order to receive funds. Brazil started a structural adjustment program at the request of the IMF, receiving a US$41.5 billion financing package in November 1998. The privatization policy adopted by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso decreased government participation in industry, and brought in much-needed foreign investment. In 1999, Brazil's debt-to-GDP ratio of 48 percent beat the IMF target. After the currency was devaluated by more than 60 percent in 1999, Brazil negotiated with the IMF on adjustments to the 1999-2001 economic program. Lowered economic targets were agreed upon in January 1999, when the debt-to-GDP ratio was set to fall below 46.5 percent by the end of 2001.


The Brazilian Constitution, created in 1988, supports a democratic government with universal suffrage by direct and secret ballot. Voting is compulsory for literate persons between 18 and 69 years of age and is optional for persons who are illiterate, over 70 years of age, or 16 and 17 years of age. There are 3 branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judicial. The president exercises executive power, and is elected by direct ballot to a 4-year term. Legislative power is exercised by the bicameral (2-chambered) National Congress comprised of: the Federal Senate, or upper house, whose 81 members are elected by a system of proportional representation for 4 years; and the Chamber of Deputies, or lower house, whose 513 members are elected for 8 years by direct ballot, and whose districts are proportional to the size of the population. Each state has a directly elected governor and an elected legislature. The municipalities are governed by directly elected mayors and an elected legislature.

Judicial power is exercised by the Supreme Federal Tribunal, whose judges are appointed for life and who are elected by their own tribunal members. Brazil's judicial system plays an important role in the Brazilian economy. It is responsible for compliance to laws regarding the economy, which are determined by the constitution. Any government decision affecting the rights of the individual is contested and supported by an independent judicial system. Therefore, radical changes in legislature regarding the economy are almost impossible if the judicial system disapproves.

Brazil went through decades of military dictatorship. The military overthrew the left-wing regime of President João Goulart in 1964 and ruled Brazil until 1985. The Brazilian military exerted complete control over the economy, politics, and popular media. All mass communication, art, and popular opinion were censored by military intelligence. Many leftist politicians were arrested and exiled to other countries during these dark years. However, in 1985, popular pressures and a recession led to peaceful democratic elections and indirect elections for the presidency. The legislative election of 1985 resulted in the formation of the democratic regimes of the 1980s and 1990s, and the military lost its power and influence in the economy. Since then there have been military, navy, and aviation ministries in the Brazilian government, but their influence has not been felt in the most important economic and political decisions.

A coalition of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), the Liberal Front Party (PFL), and the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) has held power since Brazil became a democracy. This coalition is opposed by the coalition of the Worker's Party (PT) and other smaller parties. The PSDB and the PT were the strongest political forces during the 1990s, directly opposing each other in the national congress and throughout the states.

The Democratic Workers' Party (PDT), led by Leonel Brizola, criticized the military dictatorship of the 1970s. The Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), which later turned into the PMDB, also opposed the military regime. The PFL represents the conservative front of Brazil with alliances to the winner of the 1989 presidential elections. The Communist Party of Brazil (PC) represents extreme opposition to the government and has alliances with the organizers of the Landless Movement.

Brazil had its first democratic presidential elections in 1989 after decades of military dictatorship. Luís Inácio da Silva, also known as Lula, represented a coalition of worker union parties (including the PT), but lost to Fernando Collor de Mello who represented a liberal, pro-business party. In the democratic elections of 1994 (the second since 1960), Lula fell again to Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Cardoso developed a strong economic policy, cutting inflation, and decreasing government spending in order to meet IMF targets and receive loans. The Brazilian real was then tied to the U.S. dollar and forced to maintain a constant exchange rate . Inflation stabilized, but the cuts in government expenditure generated a recession in the country. In 1997 Brazil's congress approved a constitutional amendment enabling Fernando Henrique Cardoso to run for reelection in 1998. He was reelected for a second term, beating Lula again and continuing his economic policies.

Brazil's government plays a large role in the economy, controlling many sectors of the economy that are considered strategic, including power generation, oil extraction, mining of natural resources, water supply, and telecommunications. Fernando Henrique Cardoso began to adopt policies to end these monopolies . The policies include privatization of state-run companies, and deregulation of the energy and mining sectors.

Nearly 61 percent of government revenue comes from tax payments. Personal income tax rates are progressive, with a maximum rate of 25 percent. The income tax rate on corporations and other legal entities are also progressive, with a maximum of 30 percent. Profits are taxed at up to 50.5 percent and capital gains at 25 percent. A value-added tax that ranges from 10 percent to 15 percent is payable on sales and transfers of goods in accordance with the nature of the production. Apart from personal income taxes, government taxes are applied on corporation income, turnover , sales, financial operations, minerals, fuels, electric power, real estate, municipal service, and urban real estate. Tax evasion is rampant in Brazil, but this crime came under attack during 2000. The Central Bank of Brazil and the Ministério da Receita (Ministry of Income) compared their records in order to determine which Brazilians had not filed income taxes.


Roads are the primary method of transportation in Brazil of both passengers and freight. With an estimated 21.31 million passenger cars and 5.5 million commercial vehicles in 1998, the highway system is inadequate and poorly maintained. There are approximately 1.98 million kilometers (1.23 million miles) of highways in Brazil, but only 184,140 kilometers (114,425 miles) of these roads were paved in 1996. A study by the World Bank shows that in the early 1990s 28 percent of the country's highways were in poor condition. Furthermore, the lack of proper maintenance increased transportation costs in Brazil by nearly 15 percent over the same period. The government implemented road construction plans in order to integrate the industrialized south with the less developed northeastern and northern areas. This integration enabled agricultural producers to move goods to ports located in the coastal areas for exportation. The railway system in Brazil is very limited. There are only 27,882 kilometers (17,326 miles) of tracks in Brazil (excluding urban commuter lines) and this number is in decline as track falls out of service.

In contrast, Brazil's air transportation is well developed with 48 main airports, 21 of which are international. In 1998 about 31 million passengers used Brazilian airlines, traveling a total of 27.39 million kilometers (17.02 million miles). The total weight of airline freight was equal to 602.74 million metric tons and Brazilian airlines carried freight over 2.2 billion kilometers (1.36 billion miles). Guarulhos International Airport at São Paulo and Galeão International Airport at Rio de Janeiro are the most important and active international airports of Brazil.

Hydroelectric plants generate most of Brazil's electrical power, responsible for 91 percent of the total production. Secondary sources include fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Only state companies are allowed to supply electrical power to the population, producing a total of 316.927 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Brazil 40 444 316 16.3 47 3.1 30.1 18.45 3,500
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Argentina 123 681 289 163.1 78 2.0 44.3 27.85 900
Colombia 46 581 217 16.7 49 4.8 27.9 7.51 664
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

1998. Domestic production falls 20 billion kWh short of domestic need, causing Brazil to import electricity from neighboring countries such as Paraguay. Power supply is reliable most of the time, and shortages and blackouts are infrequent in urban areas.

Telecommunications services are well developed. Privatized in 1999, telephone service is provided by a number of privately held foreign capital companies. The country has approximately 19 million main lines in use (1997 est.) and 8 million mobile cellular phones in use (1998 est.). There are 138 television broadcast stations (1997) that are sent to 316 television sets per 1,000 people (1998). Computer access is still limited, evidenced by the number of personal computers (30.1) and Internet hosts (1.84) per 1,000 people recorded in 1998.


Brazil's major economic sectors are all well developed. The agricultural sector of Brazil represented a larger percentage of the gross domestic product than industry until 1945. At that time, the government supported industrialization and direct investment in industry, with subsidies and trade protection for Brazilian industrial products. Industry was almost 3 times more valuable than agriculture as a percentage of gross domestic product by 1999. In the agriculture sector, Brazil is one of the world's largest producers of soybeans and coffee. International competitors watch Brazil's weather to determine the success of the soybean and coffee season, setting international prices based on Brazil's harvest. The agriculture sector represented 8.4 percent of the gross domestic product in 1999 and employed 31 percent of the workforce.

The government uses import taxes to protect many Brazilian industries against international competition. These industries include textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, and other machinery and equipment. The footwear industry is the most important finished good exported from Brazil. Government-owned Petrobras and Brazilian Aeronautics Enterprise are important companies headquartered in Brazil that produce oil and aircraft, respectively. The industrial sector represented 31.7 percent of the gross domestic product in 1999. Twenty-seven percent of the employed workforce was in the industrial sector.

The third most important developed sector of the Brazilian economy is the services sector. It represented 59.9 percent of the gross domestic product in 1999. Tourism has increased rapidly with an estimated 4.82 million foreign tourist arrivals and receipts of US$3.68 billion from foreign tourists in 1998. This represented an increase from 2.67 million foreign tourist arrivals and receipts of US$2.47 billion in 1996. Forty-two percent of the employed working force was in the service sector.


Brazil has been the world's second largest exporter of agricultural goods since 1977. With the exception of imported wheat, Brazil is self-sufficient in food. In 1993, 48.9 million hectares (121 million acres) of land was available for agriculture in Brazil, the fifth largest agricultural area in the world. In 1999 agriculture accounted for 8.4 percent of the total GDP, a decrease from 11 percent in 1979. Average annual growth of agriculture as a percentage of the total gross domestic product was 3.4 percent in the 1979-1989 period, and 2.9 percent in the 1989-1999 period. Annual growth of agriculture as a percentage of gross domestic product leapt to 9.5 percent in 1999, due to the expansion of the export sector. This expansion occurred because the Brazilian government de-valued its currency by nearly 60 percent in 1999, making Brazilian agricultural exports extremely cheap. Brazil is the largest producer of coffee, oranges, and sugar in the world; and is a primary exporter of coffee, cocoa, soybeans, orange juice, and sugar. The country imports rice, wheat, and barley.

Livestock, dairy, and poultry production play an important role in Brazilian agriculture. Since the 1940s, cattle have become one of the country's major sources of income. The area devoted to open pasture in 1994 was equal to 185.5 million hectares (458.38 million acres). This area occupied more than one-fifth of the total country. The government provided incentives to stimulate production, food conservation, and a more effective distribution of meat and dairy products.


Brazil's coffee production increased from 1 million metric tons in 1995-96 to 2.14 million metric tons by 1998-99, more than doubling in 4 years. However, production decreased slightly to 1.85 million metric tons in 1999-2000. The decline in production for 1999-2000 was linked to an agreement of the Association of Coffee Producing Countries (ACPC). ACPC developed a program to reduce the world supply of coffee in order to increase its price. The volume of coffee held back by each country is set at 20 percent of exports. However, Brazil still remains the largest producer and exporter of coffee in the world.


Soybean production in Brazil increased considerably for the 1999-2000 harvest. The average production of soybeans for 1994-99 was 28.23 million metric tons and for 1999-2000 alone was 32.5 million metric tons. The increase in soybean production for the 1999-2000 harvest was equivalent to 15 percent over the 1994-99 average. This increase was due to favorable weather in the southeast area of Brazil, where most of the farms are located. Another positive effect was that the world market increased imports from Brazil after the currency devaluation. The increase in soybean exports was equal to 24 percent, from 8.93 million metric tons for 1998-99 to 11.16 million metric tons for 1999-2000. Brazil is the second largest soybean producer and exporter (after the United States) in the world. The total area used for soybean production is equal to 13.4 million hectares (33.16 million acres).


Brazil is the largest producer and exporter of oranges and orange juice in the world. Brazil's total production was equal to 1.1 million metric tons in 1999-2000, or 47 percent of the world total. Orange juice consumption in Brazil is very small, only 18,000 metric tons for 1999-2000. The remainder is exported, at 1.16 million metric tons for 1999-2000 (including tangerine juice). Brazil's orange production and export volume declined from 1998-99 levels by 19 and 11 percent, respectively, in 1999-2000.

SUGAR. Since the time of Portuguese colonization, Brazil has been the largest producer and exporter of sugar in the world. Sugarcane production is concentrated in the northeastern area. Brazilian companies process sugarcane into sugar and alcohol. Sugar is mostly exported to the rest of the world while alcohol is mostly used as fuel for passenger vehicles. Passenger vehicles in Brazil are powered by either a combination of oil and alcohol, or solely alcohol. The Brazilian government developed research and financial incentives for utilization of alcohol in passenger vehicles after the world oil crisis in 1973-74. Brazil's sugar production in 1999-2000 was equal to 20.1 million metric tons. Sugar exports for 1999-2000 were equal to 11.3 million metric tons.


Tobacco is another major agricultural product. Brazil is the third largest producer (after China and India) and largest exporter of tobacco in the world. During the 2000 calendar year, 493,100 metric tons were produced and 350,000 metric tons of tobacco were exported from Brazil. Tobacco production in Brazil increased from 365,000 metric tons in 1996 to 493,100 in 2000, an increase of 35 percent. Tobacco exports in Brazil increased from 282,500 metric tons in 1996 to 350,000 in 2000, an increase of 24 percent.


Cocoa production in Brazil has suffered the effects of mixed weather patterns and infection by the witches-broom fungus since 1989. Despite these problems, Brazil is the third largest cocoa producer and exporter in the world (after Côte D'Ivoire and Ghana). Cocoa production for 2000 was the lowest in 30 years, decreasing by 21 percent, from 159,119 metric tons in 1999 to 125,290 metric tons in 2000. Exports, however, increased by 3 percent, from 93,295 metric tons in 1999 to 96,100 metric tons in 2000. Brazil's chocolate consumption rose 89 percent from 1988-89 to 1995-96, from 62,700 metric tons to 118,500 metric tons. Cocoa imports in 2000 increased by 67 percent, setting an all-time high, from 50,350 metric tons in 1999 to 84,100 metric tons in 2000. The government tried to develop new cocoa strains resistant to the fungus, and to use pest management systems, but without success.


Brazil is the third largest producer of corn in the world (after China and the European Union). Corn production for 1999-2000 yielded 31.6 million metric tons, a decrease of 2 percent from the 1998-99 production of 32.35 million metric tons. Consumption after 1996-97 was higher than production, generating a need for imports. Corn imports were small, amounting to only 1.79 million metric tons in 1999-2000. It is expected corn production will surpass consumption in the future due to government production incentives.


Brazil is the world's second largest producer (after the United States) and third largest exporter of beef (after Australia and the United States). Beef production for 2000 was 6.3 million metric tons, an increase of 4 percent from the 1999 production of 6.05 million metric tons. Beef exports for 2000 were equal to 650,000 metric tons, an increase of 18 percent from the 1999 export of 550,000 metric tons. In 2000 the mad cow disease in Europe helped boost beef exports from Brazil. In 1999 the European Union was the market for nearly 70 percent of Brazilian beef exports. However, Brazilian exporters expanded to other existing markets (such as the United States) and to new markets (mainly in Asia). Even though exports to the United States rose 50 percent in 1999 to 50,376 metric tons, the United States joined Canada (its NAFTA partner) in temporarily banning all imports of beef in 2001.


Brazil's dairy production is the sixth largest in the world (after the United States, India, Russia, Germany, and France), but all of its production is consumed domestically. Total production of fresh cow's milk was equal to 22.8 million metric tons in 2000.


Brazil's poultry production ranks third in the world (after the United States and China). Broiler meat exports from Brazil also rank third in the world (after the United States and Hong Kong). Broiler production has increased significantly throughout the last 5 years. Broiler meat production increased from 4.05 million metric tons in 1995 to 5.45 million metric tons in 2000, an increase of 35 percent. Broiler meat exports went from 424,000 metric tons in 1995 to 850,000 metric tons in 2000, an increase of 100 percent in only 5 years. Most of the increase in exports happened in the years of 1999 and 2000, when the devalued real boosted broiler meat exports. In 2000 the mad cow disease in Europe helped to increase broiler meat exports. Poultry exports increased 26 percent in 1999, and 20 percent in 2000. The European Union increased its imports of Brazilian poultry by 50 percent in 2000.


Brazil's pork production was equal to 1.95 million metric tons in 2000, mostly for domestic consumption. Fishing is limited, and lamb and sheep are not raised in Brazil due to the tropical weather.


Peak industrial growth was achieved in 1973, when the manufacturing sector grew by 15.8 percent. In 1999 the industrial sector accounted for 31.7 percent of the total gross domestic product, decreasing from 40.6 percent in 1979. The average annual industrial growth rate was 2.3 percent during 1979-1989, and 2.1 percent during 1989-1999. Industrial growth decreased 1.3 and 1.7 percent in 1998 and 1999, respectively; however, industry grew by 6.5 percent by the end of 2000. The industries that developed most in the year 2000 were the automobile (18.9 percent), parts and machinery (18 percent), mining (11.9 percent), electrical and communications (11.9 percent), and metal processing (7.6 percent) industries. Industry in Brazil employed 27 percent of the work-force. Industrial products included iron and steel, automobiles, petroleum, chemicals, and cement.


The manufacturing sector contributed 22.7 percent of the gross domestic product in 1999, engaging 11.8 percent of the workforce in 1998. The manufacturing sector decreased as a percentage of gross domestic product from 31 percent in 1979 to 29.5 percent in 1989, and 22.7 percent in 1998 and 1999. This was caused in part by a lack of foreign investment and inflationary problems during the 1980s and 1990s. The instability generated by inflation and uncertain government policies caused tremendous fluctuations in manufacturing growth rates. Major products in the manufacturing sector are televisions, VCRs, telephones, and computer chips. There are a few national companies that are domestically oriented, such as Consul and Brastemp. There are also companies that are primarily export oriented, such as Nokia, Intel, and Compaq.

State participation in manufacturing occurs in the production of textiles and clothing, footwear, food, and beverages. These industries comprise a large proportion of the manufacturing sector, but there are also new industries that have been developed in the last few decades with government aid. Machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, sugar cane and wood derivatives, and chemicals are important manufacturing industries. Direct government participation is noticed in the oil processing industry and passenger jet aircraft industry through partial ownership of such companies. Indirect government participation is noticed in the textile industry and machinery industry through export subsidies and low interest loans.


Automobiles are the most important manufactured items in Brazil. Brazil's passenger automotive production was approximately 1.25 million passenger car units, 350,000 commercial vehicles, and 17,000 tractors in 1998. Machinery and transport equipment were the biggest exports from Brazil, accounting for US$12.6 billion in 1998, or 25 percent of total exports. Brazil has manufacturing plants for General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford, Fiat, Honda, and Toyota. Workers are highly unionized, receiving the highest salaries among the manufacturing industries. In 1998, 292,290 people were employed in the industry.


Crude steel production in 1998 was 25.76 million metric tons. Vast reserves of ore and high domestic demand for steel products have helped the industry. Brazil exported US$3.67 million in steel and ore in 1998.


The national textile industry is responsible for 3 percent of world production. Total sales average US$19 billion per year; exports were US$2.9 billion in 1998. Brazil has the largest textile operating facilities in Latin America. The textile industry is also labor intensive, employing 1.43 million people in 1998. Fibers and leather are used to produce clothing, shoes, and luggage. Brazilian shoes are exported mainly to Europe, where they are famous for their quality. The Brazilian textile industry was comprised of 44,478 mostly small producers in 1998.


The Brazilian paper and pulp industry was responsible for the production of 273,000 metric tons of newsprint in 1998. The industry consisted of approximately 200 companies, employing approximately 80,000 people directly in their processing operations and 60,000 people in forestry operations. Pulp and waste paper exports were US$1 billion for 1998.


The mining sector was protected by the 1988 constitution against foreign majority participation of direct mining companies. This was a setback for the development of the mining sector because domestic investors lacked the capital for extensive mineral exploration. Private Brazilian investors and Brazilian corporations own the majority of the mineral industry. The participation of foreign capital is very limited due to Brazilian mining laws. However, in 1995 the Congress approved an amendment to the constitution allowing private companies (including foreigners) to participate in the mining industry through joint ventures , deregulating investments, and the privatization of state-owned mining plants. Shortly afterwards, the state-owned Companhia Vale do Rio Doce was privatized.

In 1999 mining contributed 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product of Brazil. The country is the world's largest producer of bauxite, gemstones, columbium, gold, iron ore, kaolin, manganese, tantalum, and tin. Major exports are iron ore, tin, and aluminum. The states of Minas Gerais, Bahia, and Goiás, located in the midwest of Brazil, have deposits of diamonds and other precious and semiprecious stones. In 1991 production of diamonds accounted for 1,500 carats, sixth in the world. Reserves of petroleum in Brazil were estimated in 1997 to be at 657 million metric tons.

Brazil's iron ore reserves are estimated at 20 billion metric tons. Mining operations started in 1942, extracting iron ore from the state of Minas Gerais, located on the country's Midwest. With the help of foreign investments, iron ore production increased to 59.4 million metric tons in 1974, and by 1985 output was 186 million metric tons. In 1981 Brazil became the world's leading exporter of iron ore, exporting 131 million metric tons in 1985, mostly to Japan and Germany.


The services sector accounted for 59.9 percent of the gross domestic product in 1999. Government participation in this sector was extremely high, with interests in land, air, and water transportation; postal, telecommunications, and financial services; and research and development. Approximately 42 percent of the workforce was employed in the services sector. The service sector's contribution to gross domestic product was 48.3 percent in 1979, 48.8 percent in 1989, and 59.9 percent in 1999. Average annual growth was 1.9 percent for the 1979-89 period and 2.7 percent for 1989-99.


The number of tourists that visit Brazil increased considerably during the 1990s. In 1994, 1.8 million foreign tourists visited Brazil, generating receipts of US$1.9 billion. In 1999, 5.1 million foreign tourists arrived, spending over US$4 billion. Argentina ranked first with 1.5 million visitors in 1999, American tourists ranked second with 0.6 million visitors, and Germans ranked third with 0.3 million visitors. The average annual income of visitors in 1999 was US$37,000 and they spent an average of US$79 per day, excluding expenses of international airfare. Brazil has over 10,000 hotels and other forms of accommodation. Approximately 63 percent of the existing hotel rooms were occupied in 1998. Hotels generate over 1 million jobs and pay over US$400 million in taxes.

Tourists are attracted to Rio de Janeiro for its notable sights: the Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain), with its cable car; the Corcovado, with its statue of Jesus Christ the Redeemer; and Copacabana Beach, with its beautiful people and mosaic sidewalks. The historic city of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais, and the churches of Bahia also attract many tourists. Ecotourism is developed in the Amazon Valley cities such as Belém and Manaus, the Iguaçu Falls in the south, and in the flooded areas of the Pantanal located in the western central region. Brazil is most famous for its Carnival, that usually takes place in February. Rio de Janeiro's Desfile das Escolas de Samba (Samba Schools Parade) attracts millions of tourists every year.

Foreign and government investments in tourism are important to the economy. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Brazilian government invested 1.2 billion in the northeast region, starting in 1994. Investments in that region were responsible for renovating airports, improving public sanitation, preserving natural ecosystems, and restoring cultural practices. These investments rapidly boosted the tourist economy in the northeast, and foreign investment helped with the construction of multimillion dollar resorts in the coastal areas of the northeast. Such investments helped attract an increasing number of tourists to the northeast region. Other investments funded by the IDB and Brazilian government are planned for the Amazon and Pantanal regions, and in the south of Brazil.


The government owns most of the financial sector, the largest component of the services industry. The 3 largest banks of Brazilthe Bank of Brazil, Federal Economic Register, and National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES) accounted for US$181.5 billion in total assets in 2000. The assets of the 3 major banks represented approximately 23 percent of the gross domestic product in 1999. The government holds the majority of the stocks of 3 national banks and a variety of state banks, with the exception of the privatized State Bank of São Paulo (BANESPA), the seventh largest bank in Brazil, and the State Bank of Rio de Janeiro (BANERJ).

The Bank of Brazil is the largest bank in Brazil and the largest financial institution in Latin America. It has 12.9 million customers and agencies in 30 different countries, employing 90,378 people. The total assets of the Bank of Brazil were worth roughly US$71 billion in 2000. The second largest bank, the Federal Economic Register, had assets worth approximately US$63 billion, employing 102,614 people in 2000. BNDES's assets were worth approximately US$48 billion, employing 1,246 people.

The Brazilian Discount Bank (BRADESCO) and Itaú have the largest assets in the private sector . BRADESCO has 3.6 million customers and more than 26 million checking accounts. Total assets for 2000 accounted for US$40 billion and US$27 billion for BRADESCO and Itaú, respectively.

The total assets of the 50 largest banks in Brazil were worth US$436 billion in 2000. This represented more than 50 percent of the total gross domestic product of that year. This part of the financial services sector employed 492,230 people in 2000.


This sector is responsible for the highest number of employed people in all sectors of the services industry. The number of companies that employ 500 or more workers is low; there were 75 companies which hired 500 or more workers in 1997 in the retail section, and 31 companies with 500 or more workers in the wholesale section. The bulk of employed people in this sector come from companies that employ less than 500 employees. Combined retail and wholesale sectors were made up of 708,635 retail and wholesale outlets. Total sales in the sector amounted to approximately US$300 billion in 1998. There are few retail chains in the economy. Most of them are located in the capitals of each state but are not part of the retail context in the less developed economies in rural areas. Food, grocery, and other retail chains are located in the coastal areas whereas small family-owned businesses compose the retail sector in smaller cities. The smaller retail businesses are responsible for employing a large number of people.


Brazil's overall trade flow (the sum of imports and exports) increased from US$63.8 billion in 1993 to US$97.2 billion in 1999, a 52 percent rise. Most of the increase in trade flow is due to the 94 percent increase in imports, from US$25.3 billion to US$49.2 billion. Exports increased by 24 percent during the same period, from US$38.6 billion to US$48 billion.

From 1981 until 1994, Brazil exported more than it imported. Beginning in 1995, however, Brazil began to run a trade deficit , due to the stabilization policies adopted by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Since then, the imbalance has grown considerably. Brazil's

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Brazil
Exports Imports
1975 8.670 13.592
1980 20.132 24.961
1985 25.639 14.332
1990 31.414 22.524
1995 46.506 53.783
1998 51.120 N/A
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

trade deficit increased to record numbers in 1997, to US$6.8 billion. This continued in 1998 at US$6.6 billion, but in 1999, the trade deficit decreased to US$1.2 billion. Forecasts for the year 2000 are that exports will exceed imports. The decrease in the deficit can be attributed to the devaluation of the real in 1999.

The primary trading partners of Brazil are the United States and Argentina. The United States is the major importing country of Brazilian goods. Exports to the United States reached US$9.7 billion, representing 19 percent of all exports (this percentage has been the same since 1996). Major exports were manufactured goods, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, and coffee. Argentina was Brazil's second largest exporting destination with US$6.7 billion, or 13 percent; followed by Germany with US$3 billion, or 6 percent; the Netherlands with US$2.7 billion, or 5 percent; and Japan with US$2.2 billion, or 4 percent.

Major imports come from the United States. In 1998 Brazil imported goods valued at US$13.5 billion, representing 23 percent of all imports. Major imports were machinery and equipment, chemical products, oil, and electricity. The second largest imports come from Argentina with US$8 billion, or 14 percent of the total imports to Brazil; followed by Germany with US$5.2 billion, or 9 percent; Japan with US$3.3 billion, or 6 percent; and Italy with US$3.2 billion, or 6 percent.

Brazil is a member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Law of the Sea treaties. Brazil is also member of MERCOSUR, a South American free trade agreement that includes Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Bolivia, Chile, and Venezuela were being considered for membership to the MERCOSUR free trade area.


From the 1970s onwards, government spending and service of the public debt were the reasons for high inflation, and the subsequent rise in prices. Inflation was Brazil's greatest monetary problem until President

Exchange rates: Brazil
reals (R$) per US$1
Jan 2001 1.954
2000 1.830
1999 1.815
1998 1.161
1997 1.078
1996 1.005
Note: From October 1994 through January 14, 1999, the official rate was determined by a managed float; since January 15, 1999, the official rate floats independently with respect to the US dollar.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

Fernando Henrique Cardoso in the mid-1990s adopted measures to slow down government spending and renegotiate public debt in order to contend with inflationary pressures. Brazil's currency was constantly devalued against the U.S. dollar. Currency devaluations generated incentives for the export market, decreasing the trade imbalance caused by debt payments and excess imports of manufactured goods. Devaluation helped the export market, which expanded its production when exports were given a price advantage provided by cheaper products in the world markets, but also represented a burden for domestic consumers who faced higher prices on imported goods. In the period from 1995 to 2000, the real devalued by approximately 100 percent. In 1995, 1 U.S. dollar was equal to 0.9176 reals. In 2000, 1 U.S. dollar was equal to 1.8302 reals. The devaluation was largely felt in early 1999, when the central bank of Brazil adopted a floating exchange rate system. The real then fell by 56 percent from 1998 to 1999.

In the past, Brazil had as many as 9 regional stock exchanges. However, with consolidations of the stock markets in the early 1990s and the advent of electronic trading, all securities transactions in Brazil are carried out in São Paulo, at the São Paulo Stock Exchange (BOVESPA). There are approximately 1,100 companies listed on the São Paulo exchange. The total market valuation of all listed companies on the São Paulo Exchange was US$228.6 billion in February 2001. Daily transactions are published in the leading newspapers and are available on the Internet. BOVESPA is part of the leading technology exchanges, offering electronic and after-hours trading options. The Rio de Janeiro Stock Exchange is the oldest financial institution in the country, founded in 1845. The Rio de Janeiro exchange is responsible for all the transactions in government bonds. Futures transactions are carried out at the Mercantile Futures Exchange (BM&F). Located in São Paulo, the BM&F has been operating since 1986 and is used mainly by coffee, beef, and cattle producers and buyers.

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Brazil 3,464 4,253 4,039 4,078 4,509
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Argentina 7,317 7,793 6,354 5,782 8,475
Colombia 1,612 1,868 1,875 2,119 2,392
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.


Brazil has a few wealthy people and a large number of very poor people. The gap between the highest and the lowest social levels is high, even if it decreased during the late 1990s. Stabilization of the economy, through lower inflation levels, has given more purchasing power to the poor. Social indicators show that since 1994, when Fernando Henrique Cardoso became president, the percentage of people living below the poverty line decreased from 19 percent of the total population in 1993 to 14.51 percent in 1999, the lowest level in decades.

The income received by the top 10 percent of the Brazilian people represented 47.75 percent of the total income received in 1999. Meanwhile, the income received by the bottom 50 percent of the Brazilian people represented only 12.55 percent of the total income received in 1999. The top 1 percent of Brazilian people received 13.31 percent of the total income in 1999, more than the income for the bottom 50 percent combined.

Health services are free for all Brazilians, but the service is questionable. Medical doctors are well educated, but the demand in urban areas is much higher than what is available. Health and sanitary conditions vary from region to region. The south and southeast have better health services and sanitary conditions than the north and northeast.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage
Share: Brazil
Lowest 10% 0.9
Lowest 20% 2.5
Second 20% 5.5
Third 20% 10.0
Fourth 20% 18.3
Highest 20% 63.8
Highest 10% 47.6
Survey year: 1996
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].
Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Brazil 22 13 18 15 34 4 -6
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Argentina 30 9 17 15 15 5 9
Colombia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
a Excludes energy used for transport.
b Includes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

Despite a government program against illiteracy, developed in 1971, 15 percent of the population aged 15 and higher were still illiterate in 1999. This number is higher than the percentage in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands as a whole. The percentage of illiteracy among the upper-middle class is 10 percent. Education is free at the school and university levels. Secondary school is the responsibility of the municipalities, and universities are the responsibility of the federal and state governments.

The biggest social challenge facing the Brazilian government and society is the lack of education, housing, health care, and nutrition for the homeless children of Brazil. Thousands of children live in the streets, abandoned by their parents who cannot afford to raise them. Confronting starvation and living in deplorable conditions, these children abuse drugs, commit crimes, and resort to prostitution in order to survive. The government has developed programs through the Ministry of Social Assistance to combat the poverty and starvation of homeless children.


Brazil employed approximately 24.49 million people in 1998: 66 percent between 18 and 39 years of age, 31 percent between 40 and 64 years of age, 2 percent under 17 years of age, and 1 percent 65 years of age or older. The rate of unemployment for 2000 was 7.1 percent, a decline from the 1999 rate of 7.6 percent. This rate was calculated by the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, (IBGE, Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) in the 6 largest metropolitan areas of the country (Recife, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Porto Alegre). Unemployment rates for the 1998-2000 period were the highest in the decade, and at least as high as in 1984, the last year that the military held power.

Unions represent all major segments of industry. The National Confederation of Industrial Workers, the National Confederation of Commercial Workers, the National Confederation of Bank Workers, and the National Confederation of Ground Transport Workers are examples of the major labor unions in Brazil. Unions are legal, and financed by compulsory payments deducted from workers' paychecks and by membership dues. Approximately 7 million workers are unionized, accounting for 20-30 percent of the employed labor force . Brazilian workers have had the right to strike since 1984. In 1992 the economy was hit by an organized strike of port workers, airport workers, teachers, drivers, fare collectors, and government employees. In the late 1990s strikes were still common in Brazil.

The minimum wage was established in 1940. After correcting for inflation, the initial minimum wage was approximately US$100 per month in 1940; it rose to its maximum in 1960 at US$170 per month, and was equal to US$75 per month in December 2000.

Even though children under 14 years of age are prohibited from working, it is estimated that 14 percent of all children between 10 and 13 work. Maternity benefits include a 90-day leave for mothers and a one-week leave for fathers. Racial discrimination is illegal, but still practiced by many businesses in Brazil. Non-white workers and women are often underpaid. The role of women in the workforce has changed considerably in the 1980s and 1990s. According to the constitution, there must be equal pay for equal work regardless of sex. The government also provides special protection for women. While the more industrialized areas in Brazil, mostly the southeast region, employ women and treat them equally to male workers, the less industrialized regions, mostly the northern regions, still underpay women and discriminate against them.


1500. Portuguese Admiral Pedro Álvares Cabral discovers Brazil.

1549. Governor-general Tomé de Souza establishes the first government in Brazil.

1773. Pedro I proclaims Brazil's independence from Portugal on 7 September and is crowned emperor.

1883. Revolution establishes the Federal Republic of the United States of Brazil.

1888. Slavery is abolished in Brazil.

1891. First constitution under the Republic.

1930. Getúlio Vargas is named president, brought to power by the military with some civilian support.

1946. Eurico Dutra is elected president.

1950. Vargas returns, creating the National Development Bank and the state petroleum company.

1964. Military dictatorship. Congress appoints Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco to the presidency.

1967. Arthur da Costa e Silva becomes president under a new constitution.

1973. Oil crisis results in a significant setback for Brazil's economy.

1979. General João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo becomes president and allows democratic elections.

1982. First democratic elections since 1964.

1985. Tancredo Neves, a senator from Minas Gerais from the opposition party, becomes president.

1988. The constitution is ratified, reestablishing direct elections for the presidency.

1989. Fernando Collor de Mello is elected president, and implements a liberalization plan.

1992. Itamar Franco takes over the presidency and tries to control inflation, which he does in 1994 with his "Real Plan."

1994. Fernando Henrique Cardoso is elected president on the strength of his economic plan.

1998. Fernando Henrique Cardoso is reelected.


The continued success of economic measures adopted by Fernando Henrique Cardoso upon his re-election in 1998 depends upon the ability of the government to maintain a tight monetary policy and maintain fiscal restraint facing both national and international economic pressures. In the long run, the government needs to implement structural reforms, such as reforms of the tax and social security systems, decentralization of governmental spending to state and municipal governments, and privatization of major enterprises. Most of these measures require additional constitutional amendments or legislation.

The presidential election on October 2002 will have a strong influence on the political, fiscal, and economic programs adopted by President Cardoso. The triumph of the leftist parties shown in the 2000 municipal elections suggest that there is a disapproval of the harsh measures taken by Cardoso to restore stability. Since there is no popular candidate from the governing coalition for the 2002 presidential elections, there might be difficulties passing unpopular laws if the opposition comes into power. Contentious legislation such as tax reform and social security payments from retired civil servants may not be considered until after Cardoso's presidency ends. The passage of such laws would greatly improve the quality of the fiscal situation.


Brazil has no territories or colonies.


Baaklini, Abdo I. The Brazilian Legislature and Political System .Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992.

Bacha, Edmar L., and Herbert S. Bacha, editors. Social Change in Brazil, 1945-1985: The Incomplete Transition. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1989.

Bak, Joan L. "Political Centralization and the Building of the Interventionist State in Brazil." Luso-Brazilian Review. Vol. 22, No. 1, Summer 1985.

Banco Central do Brasil. <>. AccessedFebruary 2001.

Becker, Bertha K. Brazil: A New Regional Power in the World-Economy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Brazilian Embassy in Washington. <>. Accessed in January 2001.

Burns, E. Bradford. A History of Brazil, 3rd ed. New York:Columbia University Press, 1993.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Brazil. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Fausto, Boris. A Concise History of Brazil. Cambridge, U.K.:Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE). <>. Accessed February 2001.

Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA). <>. Accessed February 2001.

International Cocoa Organization (ICCO). 1997/98 Annual Report. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC). Brazil. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Levine, Robert M. The History of Brazil. Westport, CT:Greenwood Press, 1999.

Ministério do Esporte e Turismo. EMBRATUR: Empresa Brasileira de Turismo. <>. Accessed August 2001.

Parkin, Vincent. Chronic Inflation in an Industrialising Economy: The Brazilian Experience. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Payne, Leigh A. Brazilian Industrialists and Democratic Change .Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

Schneider, Ronald M. Brazil: Culture and Politics in a New Industrial Powerhouse. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <>. Accessed August 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Brazil. <>. Accessed February 2001.

The World Bank Group. Countries: Brazil. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Ecio F. Costa




Brazil's currency, the real (R$), was introduced on 1 July 1994. One real equals 100 centavos. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, and 1 real, and notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 reals.


Manufactures, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee.


Machinery and equipment, chemical products, oil, electricity.


US$1.057 trillion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).


Exports: US$46.9 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.). Imports: US$48.7 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.).

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Brazil (brəzĬl´), Port. Brasil, officially Federative Republic of Brazil, republic (2005 est. pop. 186,113,000), 3,286,470 sq mi (8,511,965 sq km), E South America. By far the largest of the Latin American countries, Brazil occupies nearly half the continent of South America, stretching from the Guiana Highlands in the north, where it borders Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, to the plains of Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina in the south. In the west it spreads to the equatorial rain forest, bordering on Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia; in the east it juts far out into the Atlantic toward Africa. Brasília is the capital; the largest cities are São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.


Brazil's vast territory covers a great variety of land and climate, for although Brazil is mainly in the tropics (it is crossed by the equator in the north and by the Tropic of Capricorn in the south), the southern part of the great central upland is cool and yields the produce of temperate lands. Most of Brazil's large cities are on the Atlantic coast or the banks of the great rivers.

The rain forests of the Amazon River basin occupy all the north and north central portions of Brazil. With the opening of the interior in the 1970s and 80s, these rain forests were heavily cut and burned for industrial purposes, farming, and grazing land. Beginning in the late 1980s, popular international movements, along with changes in government policy, began to reduce the rate of deforestation, but by the mid-1990s extensive burning was again occurring. New policies appeared to slow deforestation in the early 21st cent., but it reemerged as a significant problem in late 2007.

The Amazon region includes the states of Amazonas, Pará, Acre, Amapá, Roraima, and Rondônia; its chief city is Manaus. Although it is not as developed as other parts of Brazil, the Amazon region produces timber, rubber, and other forest products such as Brazil nuts and pharmaceutical plants. Gold mining, ecotourism, and fishing are also important. At the mouth of the Amazon is the city of Belém, chief port of N Brazil.

Southeast of the Amazon mouth is the great seaward outthrust of Brazil, the region known as the Northeast. The states of Maranhão and Piauí form a transitional zone noted for its many babassu and carnauba palms. The Northeast proper—including the states of Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe, and the northern part of Bahia—was the center of the great sugar culture that for centuries dominated Brazil. The Northeast has also contributed much to the literature and culture of Brazil. In these states the general pattern is a narrow coastal plain (formerly supporting the sugarcane plantations and now given over to diversified subtropical crops) and a semiarid interior, or sertão, subject to recurrent droughts. This region has been the object of vigorous reclamation efforts by the government.

The "bulge" of Brazil reaches its turning point at the Cape of São Roque. To the northeast lie the islands of Fernando de Noronha, and to the south is the port of Natal. South of the "corner" of Brazil, the characteristic pattern of S Brazilian geography becomes notable: the narrow and interrupted coastal lowlands are bordered on the west by an escarpment, which in some places reaches the sea. Above the escarpment is the great Brazilian plateau, which tapers off in the southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, where it is succeeded by the plains of the Río de la Plata country. The escarpment itself appears from the sea as a mountain range, generally called the Serra do Mar [coast range], and the plateau is interrupted by mountainous regions, such as that in Bahia, which separates E Bahia from the valley of the São Francisco River.

The chief cities of the Northeast are the ports of Recife in Pernambuco and Salvador in Bahia. There are a number of excellent harbors farther south: Vitória in Espírito Santo; Rio de Janeiro, the former capital, one of the most beautiful and most capacious harbors in the world; Santos, the port of São Paulo and the one of the greatest coffee ports in the world; and Pôrto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul.

In the east and southeast is the heavily populated region of Brazil—the states that in the 19th and 20th cent. received the bulk of European immigrants and took hegemony away from the old Northeast. The state of Rio de Janeiro, with the great steel center of Volta Redonda, is heavily industrialized. Neighboring São Paulo state has even more industry, as well as extensive agriculture. The city of São Paulo, on the plateau, has continued the vigorous and aggressive development that marked the region in the 17th and 18th cent., when the paulistas went out in the famed bandeiras (raids), searching for slaves and gold and opening the rugged interior. They were largely responsible for the development of the gold and diamond mines of Minas Gerais state, the second most populous state in Brazil, and for the building of its old mining center of Vila Rica (Ouro Prêto), succeeded by Belo Horizonte as capital. Minas has some of the finest iron reserves in the world, as well as other mineral wealth, and has become industrialized.

Settlement also spread from São Paulo southward, particularly in the 19th and early 20th cent. when coffee from São Paulo's terra roxa [purple soil] had become the basis of Brazilian wealth, and coffee growing spread to Paraná. That state, in the west, runs out to the "corner" where Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay meet at the natural marvel of the Iguaçu Falls on the Paraná River. The huge Itaipú Dam, built from the early 1970s through the mid-1990s by Paraguay and Brazil, provides power for most of southern Brazil. The more southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, developed to a large extent by German and Slavic immigrants, are primarily cattle-raising areas with increasing industrial importance. Frontier development is continuing in central Brazil. The state of Mato Grosso is still largely devoted to stock raising. The transcontinental railroad from Bolivia spans the southern part of the state. The federal district of Brasília was carved out of the neighboring plateau state of Goiás, to the east, and the national capital was transferred to the planned city of Brasília in 1960.


Brazil has the largest population in South America and is the fifth most populous country in the world. The people are diverse in origin, and Brazil often boasts that the new "race" of Brazilians is a successful amalgam of African, European, and indigenous strains, a claim that is truer in the social than the political or economic realm. Not quite half the population is of European descent, while more than 40% are of mixed African and European ancestry. Portuguese is the official language and nearly universal; English is widely taught as a second language. Most of the estimated 350,000 to 550,000 indigenous peoples (chiefly of Tupí or Guaraní linguistic stock) are found in the rain forests of the Amazon River basin; 12% of Brazil's land has been set aside as indigenous areas. About 75% of the population is at least nominally Roman Catholic; there is a growing Protestant minority.


Brazil has one of the world's largest economies, with well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors. Vast disparities remain, however, in the country's distribution of land and wealth. Roughly one fifth of the workforce is involved in agriculture. The major commercial crops are coffee (Brazil is the world's largest producer and exporter), citrus fruit (especially juice oranges, of which Brazil also is the world's largest producer), soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, cotton, tobacco, and bananas. Cattle, pigs, and sheep are the most numerous livestock, and Brazil is a major beef and poultry exporter. Timber is also important, although much is illegally harvested.

Brazil has vast mineral wealth, including iron ore (it is the world's largest producer), tin, quartz, chrome ore, manganese, industrial diamonds, gem stones, gold, nickel, bauxite, uranium, and platinum. Offshore petroleum and natural gas deposits discovered in the early 21st cent. could also make the nation a significant oil and gas producer, but development has been slow and below expectations. There is extensive food processing, and the leading manufacturing industries produce textiles, shoes, chemicals, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, and machinery. Most of Brazil's electricity comes from water power, and it possesses extensive untapped hydroelectric potential, particularly in the Amazon basin.

In addition to coffee, Brazil's exports include transportation equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, motor vehicles, concentrated orange juice, beef, and tropical hardwoods. Machinery, electrical and transportation equipment, chemical products, oil, and electronics are major imports. Most trade is with China, the United States, Argentina, and Germany. Brazil is a member of Mercosur.


Brazil is governed under the 1988 constitution as amended. The president, who is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (and may serve two terms), is both head of state and head of government. There is a bicameral legislature consisting of an upper Federal Senate and a lower Chamber of Deputies. The 81 senators are elected for eight years and the 513 deputies are elected for four years. The president may unilaterally intervene in state affairs. Administratively, the country is divided into 26 states and one federal district (Brasília); each state has its own governor and legislature. The main political parties are the Brazilian Democratic Movement party, the Liberal Front party (now known as the Democrats party), the Democratic Labor party, the Brazilian Social Democracy party, and the Workers party.


Early History

There is evidence suggesting possible human habitation in Brazil more than 30,000 years ago, and scholars have found artifacts, including cave paintings, that all agree date back at least 11,000 years. By the time Europeans arrived there was a relatively small indigenous population, but the archaeological record indicates that densely populated settlements had previously existed in some areas; smallpox and other European diseases are believed to have decimated these settlements prior to extensive European exploration. The indigenous peoples that survived can be classified into two main groups, a partially sedentary population that spoke the Tupian language and had similar cultural patterns, and those that moved from place to place in the vast land. It is estimated that approximately a million indigenous people were scattered throughout the territory.

Whether or not Brazil was known to Portuguese navigators in the 15th cent. is still an unsolved problem, but the coast was visited by the Spanish mariner Vicente Yáñez Pinzón (see under Pinzón, Martín Alonso) before the Portuguese under Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500 claimed the land, which came within the Portuguese sphere as defined in the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). Little was done to support the claim, but the name Brazil is thought to derive from the Portuguese word for the red color of brazilwood [brasa=glowing coal], which the early visitors gathered. The indigenous people taught the explorers about the cultivation of corn, the construction of hammocks, and the use of dugout canoes. The first permanent settlement was not made until 1532, and that was at São Vicente in São Paulo. Development of the Northeast was begun about the same time under Martím Afonso de Sousa as first royal governor. Salvador was founded in 1539, and 12 captaincies were established, stretching inland from the Brazilian coast.

Portuguese claims, somewhat lackadaisically administered, did not go unchallenged. French Huguenots established themselves (1555) on an island in Rio de Janeiro harbor and were routed in 1567 by a force under Mem de , who then founded the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Dutch made their first attack on Salvador (Bahia) in 1624, and in 1633 the vigorous Dutch West India Company was able to capture and hold not only Salvador and Recife but the whole of the Northeast; the region was ably ruled by John Maurice of Nassau. No aid was forthcoming from Portugal, which had been united with Spain in 1580 and did not regain its independence until 1640. It was a naval expedition from Rio itself that drove out the Dutch in 1654. The success of the colonists helped to build their self-confidence.

Farther south, the bandeirantes from São Paulo had been trekking westward since the beginning of the 17th cent., thrusting far into Spanish territory and extending the western boundaries of Brazil, which were not delimited until the negotiations of the Brazilian diplomat Rio Branco in the late 19th and early 20th cent. The Portuguese also had ambitions to control the Banda Oriental (present Uruguay) and in the 18th cent. came into conflict with the Spanish there; the matter was not completely settled even by the independence of Uruguay in 1828.

The sugar culture came to full flower in the Northeast, where the plantations were furnishing most of the sugar demanded by Europe. Unsuccessful at exploiting the natives for the backbreaking labor of the cane fields and sugar refineries, European colonists imported Africans in large numbers as slaves. Dependence on a one-crop economy was lessened by the development of the mines in the interior, particularly those of Minas Gerais, where gold was discovered late in the 17th cent. Mining towns sprang up, and Ouro Prêto became in the 18th cent. a major intellectual and artistic center, boasting such artists as the sculptor Aleijadinho. The center of development began to swing south, and Rio de Janeiro, increasingly important as an export center, supplanted Salvador as the capital of Brazil in 1763.

Ripples from intellectual stirrings in Europe that preceded the French Revolution and the successful American Revolution brought on an abortive plot for independence among a small group of intellectuals in Minas; the plot was discovered and the leader, Tiradentes, was put to death. When Napoleon's forces invaded Portugal, the king of Portugal, John VI, fled (1807) to Brazil, and on his arrival (1808) in Rio de Janeiro that city became the capital of the Portuguese Empire. The ports of the colony were freed of mercantilist restrictions, and Brazil became a kingdom, of equal status with Portugal. In 1821 the king returned to Portugal, leaving his son behind as regent of Brazil. New policies by Portugal toward Brazil, tightening colonial restrictions, stirred up wide unrest.

Independence and the Birth of Modern Brazil

The young prince eventually acceded to popular sentiment, and advised by the Brazilian José Bonifácio, on Sept. 7, 1822, on the banks of the Ipiranga River, allegedly uttered the fateful cry of independence. He became Pedro I, emperor of Brazil. Pedro's rule, however, gradually kindled increasing discontent in Brazil, and in 1831 he had to abdicate in favor of his son, Pedro II.

The reign of this popular emperor saw the foundation of modern Brazil. Ambitions directed toward the south were responsible for involving the country in the war (1851–52) against the Argentine dictator, Juan Manuel de Rosas, and again in the War of the Triple Alliance (1865–70) against Paraguay. Brazil drew little benefit from either; far more important were the rise of postwar discontent in the military and beginnings of the large-scale European immigration that was to make SE Brazil the economic heart of the nation. Railroads and roads were constructed, and today the region has an excellent transportation system.

The plantation culture of the Northeast was already crumbling by the 1870s, and the growth of the movement to abolish slavery, spurred by such men as Antônio de Castro Alves and Joaquim Nabuco, threatened it even more. The slave trade had been abolished in 1850, and a law for gradual emancipation was passed in 1871. In 1888 while Pedro II was in Europe and his daughter Isabel was governing Brazil, slavery was completely abolished. The planters thereupon withdrew their support of the empire, enabling republican forces, aided by a military at odds with the emperor, to triumph.

In 1889 the republic was established by a bloodless revolution, with Marshal Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca as its first president. The rivalry of the states and the power of the army in government, especially under Fonseca's unpopular Jacobinist successor, Marshal Floriando Peixoto, caused the political situation to remain uneasy. The expanding market for Brazilian coffee and more particularly the wild-rubber boom brought considerable wealth as the 19th cent. ended.

Brazil in the Twentieth Century

The creation of rubber plantations in Southeast Asia brought the wild-rubber boom to a halt and hurt the economy of the Amazon region after 1912. Brazil sided with the Allies in World War I, declaring war in Oct., 1917, and shared in the peace settlement, but later (1926) it withdrew from the League of Nations. Measures to reverse the country's growing economic dependence on coffee were taken by Getúlio Vargas, who came into power through a coup in 1930. By changing the constitution and establishing a type of corporative state he centralized government (the Estado Nôvo—new state) and began the forced development of basic industries and diversification of agriculture. His mild dictatorial rule, although it aroused opposition, reflected a new consciousness of nationality, which was expressed in the paintings of Cândido Portinari and the music of Heitor Villa-Lobos.

World War II brought a new boom (chiefly in rubber and minerals) to Brazil, which joined the Allies in 1942, after coming close to backing Germany, and began taking a larger part in inter-American affairs. In 1945 the army forced Vargas to resign, and Gen. Eurico Gaspar Dutra was elected president. Brazil's economic growth was plagued by inflation, and this issue enabled Vargas to be elected in 1950. His second administration was marred by economic problems and political infighting, and in 1954 he committed suicide. Juscelino Kubitschek was elected president in 1955. Under Kubitschek the building of Brasília and an ambitious program of highway and dam construction were undertaken. The inflation problem persisted.

On Apr. 21, 1960, Brasília became Brazil's official capital, signaling a new commitment to develop the interior of the country. In 1960 Jânio da Silva Quadros was elected by the greatest popular margin in Brazilian history, but his autocratic, unpredictable manner aroused great opposition and undermined his attempts at reform. He resigned within seven months. Vice President João Goulart was his successor. Goulart's leftist administration was weakened by political strife and seemingly insurmountable economic chaos, and in 1964 he was deposed by a military insurrection. Congress elected Gen. Castelo Branco to fill out his term. Goulart's supporters and other leftists were removed from power and influence throughout Brazil and, in 1965, the president's extraordinary powers were extended and all political parties were dissolved.

A new constitution was adopted in 1967, and Marshall Costa e Silva succeeded Castelo Branco. In 1968, Costa e Silva recessed Congress and assumed one-man rule. In 1969, Gen. Emílio Garrastazú Médici succeeded Costa e Silva. Terrorism of the right and left became a feature of Brazilian life. The military police responded to guerrilla attacks with widespread torture and the formation of death squads to eradicate dissidents. This violence abated somewhat in the mid-1970s. Gen. Ernesto Geisel succeeded Médici as president in 1974. By this time, Brazil had become the world's largest debtor.

In 1977 Geisel dismissed Congress and instituted a series of constitutional and electoral reforms, and in 1978 he repealed all emergency legislation. His successor, Gen. João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo, presided over a period (1979–85) of tremendous industrial development and increasing movement toward democracy. Despite these improvements, economic and social problems continued and the military maintained control of the government. Civilian government was restored in 1985 under José Sarney, and illiterate citizens were given the right to vote. Sarney's reforms were initially successful, but increasing inflation brought antigovernment protests.

In 1988 a new constitution came into force, reducing the workweek and providing for freedom of assembly and the right to strike, and in 1990 President Fernando Collor de Mello was elected by popular vote. As a result of increasing international pressure, Collor sponsored programs to decrease the rate of deforestation in Amazon rain forests and to protect the autonomy of the indigenous Yanomami. In 1992, amid charges of wide-scale corruption within his government, Collor became the first elected president to be impeached by the Brazilian congress; he resigned as his trial began, and was succeeded by his vice president, Itamar Augusto Franco. In 1994 the supreme court cleared Collor of corruption charges, but he was barred from public office until 2001.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso was elected president in Oct., 1994, and took office in Jan., 1995. The Cardoso government reduced state controls on the economy and privatized government-owned businesses in telecommunications, oil, mining, and electricity. With the help of a new stable currency, Cardoso was able to bring inflation under control; he also signed decrees expropriating new lands from private estates for redistribution to the landless poor.

Reelected in 1998, Cardoso was faced with an economic crisis as budget deficits and a decline in foreign exchange reserves led to currency devaluations and increased interest rates. Late in 1998, he appealed to the International Monetary Fund, which assembled a $42 billion aid package for the country. Brazil then began implementing a program of stringent economic policies that restored investor confidence by mid-1999 and led to economic growth. In May, 2000, Cardoso signed a fiscal responsibility law that limited spending by the states; the legislation was a result of fiscal crises in several Brazilian states.

A series of corruption scandals that undermined the governing coalition in early 2001 was followed by an energy crisis that led the government to order widespread cuts in electrical consumption from May until Mar., 2002; the crisis resulted from a drought that reduced the water available to produce hydropower and a decade-long increase in the demand for electricity. Popular dissatisfaction with economic austerities helped fuel the election of Lula da Silva, of the opposition Workers' party (PT), to the presidency in 2002. Da Silva's subsequent inauguration also marked the increasing stability of Brazilian democracy; it was the first transfer of power between elected presidents since 1961. The new president did not deviate greatly from his predecessor's economic program, however, which alienated many supporters on the left.

Da Silva's government was hurt by a campaign finance scandal in early 2004 and by an increase in unemployment, and suffered losses in popular and congressional support, although economic growth in 2004 was strong and unemployment subsequently decreased. In June, 2005, the president was further hurt PT officials were accused of buying the votes of some of its congressional coalition members. The charges, made by the leader of a party in coalition with the president, led to the resignation of the president's chief of staff (who was expelled from the congress late in the year) and of the Workers' party leader and treasurer and forced the president to reshuffle his cabinet to shore up coalition support for his government. A separate bribery scandal led to the resignation of the speaker of the House in September, and in Mar., 2006, the finance minister resigned when he also was ensnared in a bribery scandal. Although the president weathered the scandals, they led to the sidetracking of social-reform legislation he had proposed. Meanwhile, Amazonas state was hit by a severe drought in 2005 when the dry season saw much less rainfall than usual.

A weeklong outbreak of rampant gang violence and, in turn, police vengeance against the gangs erupted in mid-May, 2006, in São Paulo state when a gang sought revenge for a government attempt to break the influence of its imprisoned leaders and members. The violence exposed a variety of ills in Brazil criminal justice system, including corruption in the prisons and lawlessness among the police. São Paulo experienced outbreaks of criminal gang violence in July and August as well, and Rio de Janeiro experienced a series of gang attacks in late December.

The 2006 presidential election, in October, was inconclusive after the first round. Da Silva won a plurality, but failed to win the required majority; his campaign was hurt by the corruption scandals that affected the PT and a late-breaking dirty-tricks scandal involving his campaign organization. The runner-up, Geraldo Alckmin, the former governor of São Paulo state, saw his campaign hurt by the recent violence in the state. In the runoff at the end of the month, da Silva won handily, securing 60% of the vote. Corruption scandals continued to make news in 2007. The most prominent new cases occurred in May, when the energy minister resigned after corruption allegations against him became public and a major Brazilian newsmagazine reported that the Senate president had taken payoffs; toward the end of the year the Senate president resigned, though he remained a senator. In August, the supreme court voted to charge da Silva's former chief of staff and the former Workers' party treasurer with corruption; they and a number of others were convicted in 2012. In Jan., 2008, Brazil became a net creditor nation, in large part due to debt-reduction measures undertaken by da Silva's government. Allegations that Brazil's intelligence agency had wiretapped Brazilian officials and politicians led the president to suspend the agency chief and other officials in Sept., 2008.

In 2009 a scandal involving former president Sarney threatened da Silva's favored successor, his chief of staff Dilma Rousseff; she was accused of attempting to influence the investigation into Sarney's conduct. Rousseff weathered the charge, and went on to become PT's presidential candidate in 2010. Benefiting from da Silva's popularity (due in large part to Brazil's economic growth and government social programs), she won the presidency in October after a runoff election. She became the first woman to be elected president of Brazil. Also in 2010, a concerted government effort began to control drug-gang-related crime in Rio de Janeiro and break gang power in the slums there.

In Jan., 2011, SE Brazil, especially Rio de Janeiro state, experienced floods and devastating mudslides as a result of heavy rains; more than a thousand people died or were missing as a result of the disaster. Rousseff's chief of staff, Antonio Palocci, resigned in June, 2011, over alleged corruption; a newspaper had reported that his net worth had increased twentyfold in the past four years due to consultancy income. During 2011 corruption allegations also led five government ministers to step down as Rousseff showed less tolerance for entrenched corrupt practices than previous presidents.

Brazil's economic growth slowed beginning in 2011. In June, 2013, the sluggish economy contributed to nationwide protests lasting several weeks that were sparked by an increase in the cost of public transportation; rising consumer prices generally, congressional corruption, poor public services, and the high cost of holding the 2014 World Cup also stoked the angry demonstrations. Brazil's Congress subsequently passed a number of bills focused on issues that had led to the protests. Despite an economic slowdown and a loss of popularity, Rousseff was reelected in 2014, again after a runoff (and by a narrower margin), as the social programs sponsored by the PT won strong support from the poor. Beginning in late 2014 and continuing into 2015, the country confronted a new major corruption scandal centered on Petrobras, the national oil company, and involving construction companies and political parties; among those who came under investigation were high-ranking officials in Rousseff's administration and party.


See G. Freyre, Order and Progress; Brazil from Monarchy to Republic (tr. 1970); F. de Azevedo, Brazilian Culture (tr. 1950, repr. 1971); E. B. Burns, A History of Brazil (2d ed. 1980); P. McDonough, Power and Ideology in Brazil (1981); T. C. Bruneau, The Church in Brazil: The Politics of Religion (1982); P. S. Falk and D. V. Fleischer, Brazil's Economic and Political Future (1988); R. P. Guirmaraes, Politics and Environment in Brazil (1991); R. Roett, The New Brazil (2010); L. Rohter, Brazil on the Rise (2010); R. Roett, The New Brazil (2011).

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Psychoanalysis aroused strong resistance when it first appeared in Brazil, provoking different reactions in different milieux. Salvador-born Julian Moreira (1873-1933) was the first to speak of Freud, in 1899. In 1903 he was appointed director of the national hospital for the insane in Rio de Janeiro, where he settled for the rest of his life. An innovative psychiatrist with an international reputation, he invited his disciples and collaborators to study psychoanalytic ideas. In 1914 Jenserico Aragão de Souza Pinto published "On Psychoanalysis. Sexuality in the Neuroses." Two conferences in 1919 awoke the interest of future psychoanalysts: Franco da Rocha's "On delusion in general" (at São Paulo) and "Psychology of a neurologistFreud and his sexual theories" by Medeiros e Albuquerque in Rio de Janeiro.

In the 1920s, physicians in São Paulo and Rio sometimes criticized psychoanalysis in a Manichean fashion: on the one hand it was labeled charlatanesque while being enthusiastically hailed on the other. It must also be said that psychoanalytic ideas arrived at a time of great effervescence that saw the publication of "modernist" literary reviews and the Semana de Arte Moderna in 1922. Influenced by the European avant-garde, this atmosphere facilitated the acceptance of psychoanalytic ideas in São Paulo.

It was there that Durval Marcondes published several articles and Osorio Cesar wrote about the artistic productions of the mentally ill. Among Juliano Moreira's disciples in Rio, Antonio Austregesilo produced somewhat superficial work but others, such as Neves Manta, Carneiro Ayrosa, and Murilo de Campos, were doing more important work, and Deodato de Morais was busy producing his excellent book A psicanálise na Educacao (1927), while J. P. Porto-Carrero continued to work on many books and articles.

Again in Rio but outside Moreira's entourage, Henrique Roxo was quoting Freud as early as 1905 but he proved to be very organicistic in his views. During the 1930s Aloysio de Paula wrote on applied psychoanalysis and Gastão Pereira da Silva, a physician and journalist, contributed to propagating psychoanalytic ideas. Mauricio de Medeiros, who occupied the chair of psychiatry in the 1950s institution, supported the psychoanalytic approach.

Although born at Alagoas, Arthur Ramos, physician and psychiatrist, was considered to be a citizen of Bahia. His thesis Primitivo e locura (1925) was widely commented on and, between 1930 and 1932, he studied Freud's work with a small group. He settled in Rio in 1934. A professor of anthropology and ethnography, he became a renowned specialist on Africa and wrote some psychoanalytic works. At Porto Alegre in 1924, João Cesar de Castro wrote Concepcao Freudiana das Psiconeuroses and in France Martim Gomes published Les Rêves (1928). Ulisses Pernambucan came under the influence of Juliano Moreira while studying medicine in Rio. He went on to become a pioneer of social psychiatry in Brazil and considered psychoanalysis as the subtlest means of penetrating the human mind.

In 1927 Marcondes founded the first Sociedade brasiliera de psicanálise in São Paulo. Although it had no training section it was nevertheless recognized by the International Psychoanalytic Association with a view to propagating Freud's ideas. In 1928 Marcondes gave his blessing to the setting up of a subsidiary branch in Rio (V. Rocha, Marcondes, and Porto-Carrero).

Thanks to Marcondes's persistent pressure on Ernest Jones, the Jewish German psychoanalyst Adelheid L. Koch, who had been analyzed by Otto Fenichel, emigrated to São Paulo with her husband in 1936, and in 1937 began to analyze Durval Marcondes, Darcy Mendonça Uchôa, Virginia Bicudo, Flavio Dias, and Frank Philips, soon to be joined by three more patients. Because she was the only qualified analyst, she singlehandedly conducted analyses, gave seminars and acted as supervisor. The first São Paulo Grupo psicanalítico, which she founded in 1944 with her first analysands, was provisionally accepted in 1945 as the Sociedade brasileira de psicanálise de São Paulo (SBPSP). It received definitive recognition at the Amsterdam Congress (1951).

The early days in Rio de Janeiro were not so easy. Dissatisfied with the official teaching of psychiatry, a group of young physicians founded the Centro de estudos Julian Moreira in 1944 and envisaged two possible hypotheses for the formation of a future psychoanalytic group: either to invite training analysts or seek training elsewhere. Intense correspondence with foreign analysts bore no fruit. Thus, from 1945 to 1947, Alcyon Baer Bahia, Danilo Perestrello, Marialzira Perestrello, and Walderedo Ismael de Oliveira began training at the Asociación Psicoanalítica Argentina (APA) with analysts who had qualified in Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and Buenos Aires.

In 1947 the Instituto brasileiro de psicanálise was founded in Rio in order to facilitate the legal arrival of foreign analysts. Mark Burke, analyzed by James Strachey and a member of the British Psycho-Analytic Society (BPS), arrived in February 1948. He was followed in December 1948 by Werner Kemper, a German psychoanalyst analyzed by Carl MüllerBraunschweig and who had worked during World War II in the Göring Institute before joining the DPG (Deutsche Psycoanalytische Gesellschaft). They both commenced training analyses almost immediately. In the beginning Burke and Kemper worked in collaboration with each other but in 1951 they separated amidst serious mutual reproaches. Kemper was expelled from the institute and, along with his analysands, founded the Centro de estudos psicanalíticos.

The four physicians who had gone to Buenos Aires returned between 1949 and 1950, both Perestrello and Walderedo having become associate members of the APA. Three groups were then formed: "the Argentineans," Burke's group, and Kemper's group. The "Argentine" group formed no alliances with either of the other two. When Burke suddenly left Brazil before his group had completed their training, three of his students left for London and the others completed their supervisions at São Paulo.

During the 1953 international conference in London, Kemper's group was recognized as a study group under the sponsorship of the SBPSP, and as the Sociedade psicanalítica do Rio de Janeiro (SPRJ) at the 1955 international conference in Geneva. Its founders included seven full members (Werner Kemper, Kattrin Kemper, Fabio Leite Lobo, Gerson Borsoi, Inaura Carneiro Leão Vetter, Luiz Guimarães Dahlheim, Noemy Rudolfer) and four associate members.

Three Brazilians arrived from London in 1954 and 1956 (two of them as associate members of the BPS). They became known as "the English." After a series of agreements and disagreements, the "Argentineans," the "English," and the "Burkians" finally accepted the sponsorship of São Paulo and were recognized as study groups at the Paris congress in 1957. The founders were the full members A. A. Bahia, D. Perestrello, and Walderedo I. de Oliveira (of the APA) and Henri-que Mendes (SBPSP), with, as associate members, Decio Sobres de Souza and Edgar Guimarães de Almeida (of the BPS), M. Perestrello (APA), Mario Pacheco de Almeida Prado (SBPSP), and three physicians who were finishing their training at São Paulo.

At the Copenhagen congress in 1959, the group was recognized as the Sociedade brasileira de psicanálise do Rio de Janeiro (SBPRJ), with fourteen founders from different backgrounds: the eight previously mentioned, along with Luiz L. Werneck, Joáo Côrtes de Barros, and Pedro Ferreira (already qualified with the SBPSP), M. T. Lyra (associate member of the BPS), Inaura Carneiro Leáo Vetter and Zenaira Aranha (SPRJ), analyzed by Kemper. In Rio Grande do Sul, Mario Martins, Zaira Martins (1945), and José Lemmertz (1947) began their analytic training with the APA. The Martins couple returned in 1947 and Lemmertz in 1949. They qualified a few years later.

During the Edinburgh congress in 1961, the Porto Alegre study group was accepted under the sponsorship of the SPRJ. And the Sociedade Psicanalítica de Porto Alegre (SPPA) was recognized at the Stockholm conference in 1963 with, as founders, the three previously mentioned members, along with Cyro Martins (APA), Celestino Prunes, and Ernesto La Porta (SPRJ), together with José Maria Santiago Wagner (already in training at Porto Alegre). In 1946 Iracy Doyle Ferreira left for the United States and trained at the William Alanson Institute of Psychiatry (WAIP). Upon returning she spread the contributions of Harry Stack Sullivan, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, and Abram Kardiner. Around 1950 she started several training analyses and, in 1952, founded the Instituto de Medicina Psicológica (IMP), which received WAIP authorization in 1953.

On May 6, 1967, the Associacão Brasileira de Psicanálise (ABP) was founded with a view to uniting the four societies recognized by the IPA in order to foster and provide assistance for future core and study groups and to publish a joint review. In 1975 the ABP created the Recife psychoanalytic core group and the Pelotas core group in 1987. Having met all the requirements of the IPA, these two groups were admitted as study groups. The Sociedade Psicanalítica de Recife and the Sociedade Psicanalítica de Pelotas became provisional study groups at the San Francisco congress in 1995. Three new study groups were recognized: the Porto Alegre group in 1992, the Ribeirão Preto group in 1993, and the Brasília group in 1994. During the Barcelona congress in 1997, the first of these groups was admitted as the Sociedade brasileira de Psicanálise de Porto Alegre. In 2005 four other core groups, located at Belo Horizonte, Campo Grande, Curitiba, and Espírito Santo were working with a view to being recognized as study groups.

Durval Marcondes, Mario Martins, and Danilo Perestrello were posthumously named honorary presidents of the ABP.

The military dictatorship (1964 to 1985) affected not only political life but also, in a direct and particularly harsh manner, the cultural life of the country. Ideas were suppressed and censorship was openly practiced in university, literary, artistic, and scientific circles, as witnessed by the events at the famous Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. The atrocities committed by groups and individuals in the name of "Institutional Acts" are known throughout the world. The psychoanalytic milieu also suffered an unhealthy influence. Although some candidates and analysts took an active part in the struggle for the redemocratization of the country, others proved to be full of anti-communist prejudice. However, some of these same colleagues, while being politically to the right, maintained a psychoanalytic position in their consulting rooms without blindly submitting to their political ideology.

In 1973 the clandestine newspaper Voz Operária denounced Amilcar Lobo Moreira da Silva, a candidate for the SPRJ (Rio I), as a member of the military police's torture squad. An analyst from the other Rio society, SBPRJ (Rio II), Helena Besserman Vianna, sent the press cutting to Argentina, where it was published in the review Questionamos, directed by Maria Langer. The denouncement was communicated to the IPA and other psychoanalytic societies, along with the name of the candidate and his analyst, Leáo Cabernite.

This courageous denouncement was not taken seriously by Serge Lebovici, president of the IPA, or by David Zimmermann, president of the Coordinating Committee for Psychoanalytic Organizations in Latin America (COPAL), nor was it credited by the managing council for Rio I, with Leáo Cabernite as its president. It was considered to be a "rumor" and "calumny" against Amilcar Lobo. A persecution campaign was started against the person who made the denunciation (who suffered the consequences in her society) and not against its subject.

An IPA committee visiting Rio came to no firm conclusion, but in October 1980 Amilcar Lobo was definitively excluded from the SPRJ as a trainee candidate. In 1981 ex-prisoners identified Amilcar Lobo before the Commission for the Rights of Man of the Brazilian Bar Association. When questioned, the ex-prisoners provided the following statements: "Lobo did not torture people directly but he supervised prisoners' health to determine whether they could continue to be tortured or not." Sometimes "Lobo acted in two stages: firstly he evaluated vital data and checked their capacity to resist torture, then he administered medicines intravenously in order to make it easier to acquire information." In 1986 a group of prisoners appeared at an assembly of the SPRJ to confirm these accusations. In 1988, when Lobo's guilt had been proven, the regional medical council struck him off the register of physicians. The federal council later amended the suspension to thirty days. Informed of this situation, the IPA wrote to the SPRJ stating the necessity of expelling Cabernite. Cabernite had resigned not long before in "disgust" at the IPA's attitude and now asked to be reinstated. In the course of an assembly in 1993 he was reinstated by vote. Disturbed by this resolution, which they considered to be contrary to the statutes, the president of Rio I, Claudio de Campos, and his colleagues in the managing council resigned from their positions. An ethics commission was formed to study the Cabernite case. After a two-year study, a long report recommended expelling Cabernite from the society and suspending another incriminated member, La Porta, for one year. At the end of 1995 an assembly of Rio I discussed the report and refused to accept the recommendations of the ethics commission. Six members resigned immediately. This was followed by a controversial debate, many members of the SPRJ being unable to accept this "lack of respect" for the study and efforts of the ethics commission. To highlight their difference from the leadership of Rio I without however resigning from it, they founded the Groupo Pró-Etica and published a small journal, Destacamento.

Other societies manifested their discontent when Cabernite was granted an amnesty, speaking of a possible sanction for the SPRJ. For several years the executive council of the IPA had not considered the Besserman-Lobo-Cabernite problem in an impartial fashion. In 1995, however, during the presidency of Horacio Etchegoyen, the executive committee rehabilitated Helena Besserman Vianna and in 1997 appointed an ad hoc investigating commission consisting of members from Europe and North and South America to study all the documents and present a report that would be available to all IPA members at Barcelona. Having heard all parties in the dispute, the executive council was to elucidate the problem in an objective manner.

In March, 1997, Cabernite resigned definitively from the SPRJ. The report considered him guilty of unethical and morally reprehensible conduct and concluded that he could not be admitted under any circumstances into any IPA-affiliated psychoanalytic society. During the Barcelona congress in July 1997, the executive council unanimously accepted and ratified the ad hoc commission's report.

Psychoanalytic ideas were first introduced at a university level by Marcondes, Bicudo, Danilo Perestrello, and Oliveira, and later by Mendonça Uchôa, Renato Mezzan, Portella Nunes, Prunes, P. Guedes, and Zimmermann. Medical (non-psychiatric) circles were pervaded with a dynamically charged atmosphere under the influence of Danilo Perestrello, Gernandes Pontes, Miller de Paiva, and Capizano, who inculcated psychosomatic concepts and accorded great importance to the physician-patient relationship, with the help of Mario and Cyro Martins, J. Mello Filho, A. Eksterman, and others. With regard to the relationship between psychoanalysis and the arts, literature, and mythology, it is essential to mention the contributions of Bahia, Cyro Martins, Meneghini, Hermann, Marialzira Perestrello, Nosek, Oliveira, Honigsztejn, David Azoubel, and many more. Nise da Silveira conducted research into the artistic production of mental patients and created the "Museu do Inconsciente." Some articles by these authors have become known abroad.

In 1928 Marcondes published the first and only issue of Revista brasileira de psicanálise, although the review reappeared in 1967 with the BPA. The SBPSP publishes the IDE review and its Institute publishes the Jornal de psicanálise. For two years the two Rio societies published the Revista de psicanálise do Rio de Janeiro. The SBPSP publishes TRIEB and the SPPA publishes the Revista de psicanálise de Porto Alegre.

It must be said that the country has other societies in addition to those affiliated with the IPA. The short-lived Sociedade de psicologia individual (Adlerian) was founded in the 1930s. In 1994, during the presidency of Horus Vital Brazil, the IMP took on the name Sociedade psicanalítica Iracy Doyle and was affiliated with the International Federation of Psychoanalytical Societies (IFPS). It publishes Tempo psicanalítico and Cadernos do Tempo psicanalítico. The Sociedade brasileira de psicoterapia de grupo was founded in December 1958 with twenty-six members and Walderedo de Oliveira as president. Following the foundation of the Associação brasileira de psicoterapia analítica de grupo, the affiliated societies changed their name to "Analytic group psychotherapy." The Rio de Janeiro society is currently called GRADIVA. The Círculo brasileiro de psicanálise, founded in 1956 in southern Brazil, is affiliated to the IFPS and comprises about ten sections scattered over several cities. The Recife society publishes two reviews: Revista psicanalítica and Cadernos de psicanálise. In 1963, in Belo Horizonte, Father Malomar Lund Edelweiss founded the Círculo psicanalítico de psicologia profunda (Igor Caruso), affiliated with the IFPS, which in turn led to the founding of other societies.

Because the two Rio IPA-affiliated societies refused to accept non-physicians, a group of nine psychologists founded the Sociedade de psicologia clínica in Rio in 1971 with Maria Regina Domingues de Morais as president. In 1989 it changed its name to Sociedade de psicanálise da cidade and published Foco and Cadernos de psicanálise. In 1967 Werner Kemper returned to Germany leaving his wife Kattrin and two sons in Brazil. In 1968 she left the SPRJ, followed by several of her analysands. In 1969 four of them along with four people linked to Father Malomar founded the Círculo psicanalítico do Rio de Janeiro (affiliated to the IFPS), which Kattrin Kemper joined in 1972.

In São Paulo the Sedes Sapientiae, founded in the 1970s, took an active interest in social problems, organized specialist courses, a psychoanalysis department from 1985, and published Percurso. With a Jungian orientation, the Sociedade brasiliera de psicologia analítica (founded in São Paulo in 1975) and the Associação jungiana brasileira operate in São Paulo and Rio. They are both affiliated with the International Association for Analytic Psychology.

There are many Lacanian societies. The Campo freudiano was dissolved after operating for fifteen years and, spurred on by Jacques-Alain Miller, eleven founders created the Escola Brasileira de Psicanálise do campo freudiano (EBP) in Rio de Janeiro in June 1995. The EBP is a member of the World Association of Psychoanalysis and numbers five sections and three secretariats. It would be impossible to mention all the societies and groups in the different schools: It is currently essential to maintain a certain pluralism in terms of ideas.

Following the IFPS 1989 congress, a Forum brasileiro de psicanalíse was opened up to all societies with a view to reconciling different theories. Emilio Rodrigué, a former full member of the APA, has lived at Salvador (Bahia) for more than twenty years. Without belonging to any society, he is respected for his profound humanistic culture and his independent spirit.

Freud's work has been and still continues to be the basic subject of study in the majority of Brazilian societies. As early as 1950, Kleinian ideas enjoyed great popularity in Rio and São Paulo, thanks to Decio de Souza, V. Bicudo, Philips, and Lyra, and thanks to the couple Mario and Zaira Martins at Porto Alegre. Some Rio and São Paulo analysts underwent a second analysis and attended seminars and supervisions at the British Society. Several Kleinians visited Brazil. For several years the founders and members of societies not affiliated to the IPA attended courses by Arminda Aberastury and Mauricio Knobel. Sándor Ferenczi, Karl Abraham, Wilhelm Reich, and William Fairbairn were studied in turn. Donald Winnicott has been taught since 1970. Bahia and Philips, and then León Grinberg, introduced Wilfred Bion in the 1970s, and his theories continue to receive widespread dissemination. Heinz Kohut's self psychology has been taught since 1980. Many societies not affiliated to the IPA conduct in-depth studies of Lacanian thought, which was not introduced in IPA societies until the end of the twentieth century. The different schools are involved in disputing the right to dispense training in a more democratic manner than formerly.

Marialzira Perestrello


Besserman-Vianna, Helena. (1997). Politique de la psychanalyse faceà la dictature età la torture. N 'en parlezà personne. Paris: L'Harmattan.

Galvão, Luis Almeida Prado. (1967). "Notas para a história de psicanálise em São Paulo." In Revista brasileira psicanálítica, 1 (1), 46-68.

Perestrello, Marialzira. (1992). Histoire de la psychanalyse au Brésil des origines à 1937. Frénésie, 2 (10), 283-304.

. (1992). A Psicanálise no Brasil. Encontros: psicanálise. Rio de Janeiro: Imago.

Perestrello, Marialzira, et al. (1986). História da Sociedade brasileira de psicanálise do Rio de Janeiro: suas origens e fundação. Rio de Janeiro: Imago.

Sagawa, Roberto Yutaka. (1980). Durval Marcondes e o início do movimento psicanalítico brasileiro. Cadernos Freud-Lacan, 2.

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Ana Cristina Dubeux Dourado


Tobias Hecht


In spite of advances in anthropological and ethnographic studies, historians' chances of discovering a range of sources on the history of indigenous children prior to the arrival of the Portuguese in Brazil are slim. Information on the treatment of children and adolescents by the Indians generally comes from observations made by people far removed from indigenous culture. For this reason, we begin our account of the history of children in Brazil in the year 1549, when Jesuit priests took on the mission of catechizing indigenous children along various parts of the Brazilian coast. Their broader objective was to bring about a change in customs and beliefs among indigenous societies, opening the path for the teaching of Christian principles through the children.

The first school for indigenous children was opened in Bahia in 1552. A number of studies show that the Indian children in Jesuit schools studied with white orphan children who were brought to Brazil to teach the local children Portuguese and Christian customs. The use of children in the catechism of Indians created a favorable environment for activities typical of the child's universe, such as games, theater, and music. But these schools were also characterized by a rigid sense of discipline, and indigenous children who tried to escape the daily activities suffered corporal punishment, at times being tied for hours to tree trunks or to chains prepared for this purpose.

The Jesuit schools were few and their influence on the indigenous children's education was limited. Contact between whites and Indians was usually the result of not-always-peaceful encounters that, in addition to dramatically reducing the indigenous population through extermination or disease, destroyed many of the original expressions of religiosity and indigenous culture. In spite of the controversies about the size of the indigenous population in the period immediately prior to the arrival of the Portuguese in Brazil, conservative estimates suggest that there were at least one million Indians in 1492, and that one hundred and fifty years later, this population had been reduced to around two hundred thousand people. Other studies indicate the existence of over five million Brazilian Indians in 1500, of which 95 percent were decimated by sickness and armed conflicts with the European conquerors.

The few records made by European travelers on the daily lives of children in the villages show the diversity of customs among the various indigenous nations. But they also had customs in common, such as washing and painting newborn children. A practice of the Tupinambas, who inhabited the entire Brazilian coastline, was to wash and paint a newborn child. The boys received a small tomahawk, a bow, and parrot-feather arrows from their father, so they would become great warriors. The girls wove cotton from the age of seven; in addition to weaving they made manioc flour and prepared food. In the passage to adult life, both boys and girls experienced rituals that were aimed at testing their courage. The girls' bodies received cross-shaped cuts, and they were isolated for days following their first periods. The boys also had their bodies cut and their lips pierced, and lay on anthills to build up the courage they would need in intertribal wars. All these practices were common to various indigenous nations living on the Brazilian coastline.

Childhood under Slavery

Before the end of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese began to bring slaves on ships from Africa to work in the fields and in other occupations that formed part of the colonization system. The slaves were treated as merchandise and the conditions they lived under were terrible. Men, women, and children were thrown into dark and filthy holds with scarcely any food and water, and many died in the crossing, which could last for months in periods of calm. When they arrived on the continent, the children, often separated from their parents, were taken to slave markets to be sold cheaply, since merchants preferred strong men who could work on the plantations harvesting sugarcane. The high mortality rate for children during the crossing tended to discourage the importation of children directly from Africa. Nonetheless, around 4 percent of the slaves who disembarked in Valongo Market in Rio de Janeiro were children, even in the nineteenth century.

When children were born in the slave quarters, they were treated as merchandise from an early age. Their value increased from the age of twelve onward, when they were assumed to have developed the necessary strength for hard labor in the fields. However, younger children also worked at a number of lighter occupations, above all in the domestic sphere on the big sugar plantations. In the country, the smaller children moved easily between the slave quarters (senzala ) and their master's mansion, known as the casa grande, and they only began to work with a more defined routine from the age of seven or eight. The girls would sew and some learned lace making as well. They also served as domestic servants for the ladies and looked after young children. The boys worked as pages, looked after the horses, and washed their masters' feet and those of their visitors. They would also serve at the table and help with cleaning.

The unit formed by the sugar mill, the sugarcane fields, the property-owners' residence, and the slave quarters was known as the engenhos (plantation). This productive unit, of such significance for Brazil's colonial history, is perhaps the most expressive example of the confusion between the public and private spheres that characterize the country's social history. Authoritative studies on the history of daily life and thought analyze the various ways in which the social relations generated in the engenhos ended by influencing how politics have functioned in Brazil. In the engenhos the relative intimacy shared by whites and blacks eventually created a hybrid cultural universe, based on the interchange of myths, symbols, art, religious beliefs, and other forms of expression common to both European and African culture. This coexistence between blacks and whites did not occur without conflict. From an early age, the children of the elite saw their fathers reacting violently towards rebellious attitudes from the slaves. Thus, although they could experience moments of equality when fun and games were shared, white children soon learned to discriminate against the slaves, even repeating patterns of violent behavior learned from their parents. And in spite of black children's access to the domestic sphere, their future chances of social mobility were inevitably linked to personal favors that the representatives of the elite might be inclined to offer. In colonial Brazil, education was allotted to very few, and poor children had to work from a tender age.

A Rehearsal for Public Policies

Direct welfare provision for needy children used to be provided almost exclusively by the Catholic Church. In the eighteenth century, asylums for foundlings were created to receive the large number of children abandoned in public places or at the gates of the wealthy. Children were abandoned for a variety of reasons: slave mothers left their children in the asylums so that they could live in liberty; needy families sometimes made use of charitable institutions for short periods, collecting their offspring when they could afford to raise them; and there was a high level of abandonment triggered by the birth of illegitimate children. The lack of adequate hygiene and care for children was denounced by several doctors and jurists in the nineteenth century. These professionals hoped to mold Brazil to the civilized standards imported from modern European nations.

In 1888 and in 1889, Brazil experienced two significant events: the abolition of slavery and the proclamation of the republic. These new times encouraged a discussion of social and welfare policies that could contribute to the organization of the urban centers, which were undergoing rapid population growth. Frightened by the presence of a large number of children roaming the streets, Brazil's governors adopted welfare measures that aimed to offer some form of occupation to children most in need. Even though these initiatives represented a first attempt at creating specific public policies for children in Brazil, their practical application did not always result in real benefits for underprivileged children. While the speeches of those who defended modernization in Brazil exalted the school as the efficient answer to backwardness and ignorance, in practice the Brazilian educational system was based on a discriminatory structure that separated rich from poor. The majority of the schools built in this period offered neither good equipment nor adequate methods to address children's needs. There was a distinct separation between schools catering to the poor that prioritized training for work and the schools for the elite that, in spite of the use of traditional teaching methods, included a greater range of educational opportunities, such as the teaching of music, art, and sports. Many children found on the streets, on the other hand, were taken to shelters and '"corrective" schools, which were organized around a rigid disciplinary system that conceived of education as a training process rather than an opportunity for developing the pupils' cognitive potential.

In the process of constructing the Brazilian nation, many authorities believed that the simple transposition of European ideas and practices would make Brazil an essentially modern country, free of the slave legacy and monarchical past that, in the social imagery of the period, represented backwardness. However, in terms of children's education, the aspirations of a small number of politicians, jurists, and teachers who managed to see beyond their time eventually lost their strength in the face of an economic structure based on the concentration of wealth and social exclusion.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Over the course of the twentieth century, there have been a few attempts at creating good state schools and effective welfare policies to benefit children. However, the results were limited to brief periods or to well-defined geographical areas. Only after the 1990s, with the passage of the Statute on the Child and Adolescent, did Brazil seriously begin the process of building public policies to provide full attention to children. Distinct among the many legal measures and public policies that have been envisioned or implemented throughout Brazil's history, this new legislation makes children and adolescents national priorities, considering them citizens whose rights should be respected. In this new concept of citizenship, society is seen as a participatory element in the struggle for the effective guarantee of human rights. This participation also occurs through the individual actions of each citizen, but chiefly by means of specially designed institutions to act as a bridge between society and the state, in the task of transforming what exists by law into reality.

See also: Latin America.


Goldstein, Donna M. 1998. "Nothing Bad Intended: Child Discipline, Punishment, and Survival in a Shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil." In Small Wars: The Cultural Politics of Childhood, ed. Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Carolyn Fishel Sargent. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Hecht, Tobias. 1998. At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Hecht, Tobias. 2002. Minor Omissions: Children in Latin American History and Society. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Kenny, Mary Lorena. 2002. "Orators and Outcasts, Wanderers and Workers: Street Children in Brazil." In Symbolic Childhood, ed. Daniel T. Cook. New York: Peter Lang.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Daniel Hoffman. 1998. "Brazilian Apartheid: Street Kids and the Struggle for Urban Space." In Small Wars: The Cultural Politics of Childhood, ed. Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Carolyn Fishel Sargent. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Ana Cristina Dubeux Dourado


With a population of 170 million in a territory larger than western Europe, Brazil is home to some 61 million people under the age of eighteen. Not surprisingly, the lives of Brazilian children are anything but uniform.

Wealth and Poverty

One aspect of Brazilian social life that makes childhood so diverse is the staggering inequality in the distribution of national wealth. According to the World Bank's 1999/2000 Development Report, the richest 10 percent of the population are responsible for 47 percent of consumption, while the poorest 10 percent account for only 0.8 percent. Children who grow up in tall, guarded apartment buildings and watch MTV, play video games, shop in air-conditioned malls, and vacation at Disney World can gaze out their windows at the shacks where other children suffer from malnutrition. In the poorest areas of Brazil, such as the northeast, even the physical size and appearance of poor children tends to be markedly different from those of their richer peers; children growing up in middle-class condominiums are likely to be considerably taller and heavier than age-mates residing in rural areas or in precarious shacks just down the street. Contemporary researchers are far less likely than previous generations of scholars to accept the notion that Brazil has something like a racial democracy; even the casual observer cannot help but notice the correlation between whiteness and wealth and blackness and poverty. While there are certainly destitute white children in Brazil, the bulk of poor Brazilian youngsters are descendants of African slaves and Amerindians; most rich children are light skinned.

Although the proportion of all Brazilian children attending primary school has risen dramatically in recent years to about 90 percent, poor children cannot attend the better private schools and are more likely to drop out along the way; of the population as a whole, according to the World Bank, only 20 percent of high-school-age children were attending secondary institutions in 1996. Free university education serves mostly those whose families had the means to send them to expensive private schools.

Deemed to be of great sentimental value but something of an economic liability for their families, rich children in Brazil are unlikely to work inside, much less outside, the home. In this sense, their status is similar to that of children in advanced industrial countries. Poor Brazilian children, on the other hand, while usually cherished sentimentally, often contribute to household income, be it in agriculture in the rural areas or through the informal sector in the cities. According to Brazil's official Institute of Geography and Economy, 9 percent of children aged ten to fourteen are "economically active," and of these 32 percent work more than forty hours per week. Such figures say nothing about the prevalence of poor children working in the home, minding younger siblings so that their parents can be employed outside, for instance, or how many children are involved in illegal forms of work, such as the drugs trade. With 44 percent of Brazil's population living on 2 dollars or less per day (as indicated in World Bank figures from 1990), the survival of millions of households almost certainly depends on child labor in one form or another. Unfortunately, careful studies of this phenomenon in Brazil are remarkable for their absence.

Infant and Childhood Mortality

Rates of infant mortality have fallen dramatically, from 70 per 1,000 live births in 1980 to 34 in 1997. Still, the prevalence of infant death among the poorest populations in Brazil remains high and is largely attributable to malnutrition in combination with easily treatable childhood diseases. In a controversial 1992 ethnography of infant death in a Brazilian shantytown, anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes argued that mothers living in conditions of extreme poverty and chronic hunger exhibited a sort of indifference to the deaths of their offspring, not unlike that reported by some historians studying preindustrial societies; this indifference, she contended, was both a reasonable coping strategy given the reality of pervasive child death and a contributing factor to it. Other scholars have refuted the contention about maternal detachment, yet the debate has drawn needed attention to the social consequences of malnutrition and infant mortality.

Brazil has one of the highest rates of violent death of any country not at war, with children figuring prominently as both victims and perpetrators. According to a study by Tom Gibb, 4,000 children and adolescents under the age of eighteen were killed by firearms in a single and by no means anomalous Brazilian city, Rio de Janeiro, between 1987 and 2001eight times the number of all Palestinian children killed in the conflict with Israel during the same period. The massacre of a group of children sleeping in the street in Rio de Janeiro in 1993 led to international protest (in 1996 a member of the military police was convicted for his participation in the crime). Still, the preponderance of violent crimes carried out by young people and the ineptitude and corruption of the Brazilian police and judiciary have been accompanied by considerable tolerance of vigilante justice.

Street Children

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Brazilian street children became the focus of media attention the world over. For a time, international advocacy institutions were estimating the presence of some 7 million children living in the street. These claimswildly exaggerated, as carefully gathered census data later demonstratedwere also partially responsible for the emergence of a vibrant social movement on behalf of children. With intensive lobbying by the National Movement of Street Children and other organizations, Brazil adopted in 1990 the Children and Adolescents Act, an ambitious piece of legislation guaranteeing children the right to attend school, access to leisure activities, special treatment at the hands of the police and judiciary, and many other entitlements and protections. Few would contend that the implementation of this law has been successful, however.

Whereas most research on contemporary Brazilian children has focused on a small minority living in extraordinary circumstancesfor instance in the street or working as prostitutesscant attention has been paid to rural children or to the conditions of the vast majority of urban children who live and stay at home.

See also: Latin America; Sociology and Anthropology of Childhood; Violence Against Children.


Hecht, Tobias. 1998. At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 1992. Death without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Sheriff, Robin E. 2001. Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

internet resources

Gibb, Tom. 2002. "Rio 'Worse than a War Zone.'" Available from <>.

Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Economia. Available from <>.

World Bank. 2003. "1999/2000 Development Report." Available from <>.

Tobias Hecht

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Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, with 170 million inhabitants distributed throughout twenty-six states and the Federal District. The official language is Portuguese. When the Portugueses arrived in 1500, there were between two and five million Indians living in the territory. They spoke around one thousand different languages (UnB revista 2001). As frequently happens with those who are colonized, Indians were seen as inferior and became objects of acculturation. However, the Indians' rich languages, costumes, and way of life influenced the new "owners" of the land and their culture.

The Portuguese colonization was marked by depredation. The Portuguese exploited the riches of the land and exported them to Europe. During this period Brazil used slaves from different African countries for the sugar cane trade. Brazilian culture is therefore a peculiar mixture of three peoples— native Indians, Africans, and Portuguese.

A Historical Perspective on Family Life

The colonization of Brazil started on the shores of the Atlantic, in the northeast region of the country. During early colonial times, the economy was agrarian, based on the cultivation of single crops. This economic pattern depended upon control exerted by the social structure on the family system and on Indian and slave labor. The family was the center of life as it fulfilled both economical and political roles (Bruschini 1993).

Families, especially in the northeast where sugar cane grew, and in the southeast where coffee was the predominant crop, were composed of married couples, their children, and many aggregated persons—relatives, godchildren, workers, Indians, and slaves. These two groups—the nuclear family and all who lived around them—held in common a strong sense of commitment and obedience to the head of the household. The head of the household held personal and social authority and power. As the political chief and holder of all economic resources, he was called colonel, and was revered and feared by his family and those who worked for, served, and depended on him. Any act seen as disloyal to him was met with severe punishment.

Family life was based on strong patriarchal values. Roles were extremely hierarchical and rigid. Women cared for the house, raised the couple's many children, and zealously protected family traditions and social customs. Female authority was only shown in the absence of the husband. Men, on the other hand, were socially and sexually free (Bruschini 1993).

Marriages in the upper class were usually arranged. Building alliances between families to maintain power and economic interests was a priority. Love and affection were not usually the basis for unions and men used this as an "excuse" to seek lovers on their properties and often had children with other women. In this way the three cultures began a complex process of integration.

Consensual unions were common in other social classes. In such family systems, men tended not to feel obliged to assume patriarchal roles, and therefore many women became heads of households. Slaves were not allowed to stay together as families. Family members were separated among different properties in order to undermine the strength and cohesion of the African group to which the slave belonged (Brushini 1993).

The colonial patriarchal family structure became the symbol of family life in Brazil. The seminal work of Brazilian anthropologist Gilberto Freyre, particularly Casa Grande e Senzala (1943), helped consolidate this representation. Critics of Freyre's work argue that this social representation of family life should not be seen as the prevailing model for all areas of the country or for all social groups. It could be seen as an ideological construction, or ideal myth, of the integration of roles and relationships between unequal people and social groups—e.g., men/women, parents/children, master/slave or other laborers, white/Indian, white/Negro (Samara 1983; Almeida, Carneiro, and Silvana de Paula 1987).

Freyre's ideas have had a tremendous impact on how family and social life are thought of in Brazil. Angela M. de Almeida, Maria Jose Carneiro, and Silvana G. de Paula (1987) recognize that this model served as a blueprint for a set of values and ethics that has influenced all other forms of family life in Brazil. It may also have influenced other social spheres, such as politics, labor relations, and philosophies of citizenship and civil rights.

The colonization of southern Brazil presented distinctive features when compared to the northeast. The militaristic colonization, especially of São Paulo, and the movement called Entradas e Bandeiras—the male-dominated expeditions to map inland regions and claim ownership of the land—forced women to administer farms and control workers, including slaves (Neder 1998). Taking an active role in society, however, did not liberate women from submissiveness and subordination to male authority. Family structure remained extremely repressive, faithfully reproducing rules and norms of discipline and social control dictated by the Catholic faith brought from Portugal.

Research done by Eni de M. Samara (1983, 1987) shows that families in the São Paulo area were smaller, as couples had fewer children. Also, fewer extended family members lived with the nuclear family. Married children usually left their parents' house to build an independent life. Samara (1983) also found a peculiar trend—a great number of informal unions. Many men and women remained legally single but had as may as eight children with one or more partners. Society's acceptance of these children varied, depending on sex, race, and the socioeconomic status of the father.

During the nineteenth century, the agrarian, family-centered social organization began to change drastically. Urbanization, industrialization, and later, the end of slavery (1888) and Proclamation of the Republic (1889) were some of the forces of change. The Republican project included a revision and reorganization of roles both within the family and in society. The modern family was composed of the couple and their children. Marriages were no longer prompted solely by financial or political interests. The emotional and sexual needs of spouses were now considered (Corrêa 1982). The role of women changed drastically. They were to be mothers and supporters to their husbands. Women gained access to education in order to be educators of their children. This process targeted mainly white families of European descent (Neder 1998).

Aspects of the Contemporary Family

The dominant social representation of family in Brazil is the traditional family, comprised of a couple and their children, with an emphasis on the psychological and emotional bond (Bruschini and Ridenti 1994). Another important characteristic is the connection with extended families: Although the individuality of the couple is respected, spouses are expected to maintain close ties with families of origin. The degree of closeness, as well as the amount of participation of the extended family in the couple's daily life, varies with social, economical, and relational factors.

Family life in Brazil underwent major changes during the last three decades of the twentieth century. More diverse and complex forms emerged. The number of dual-worker, single-parent, and remarried families increased. Regardless of social class, families became smaller (Goldani 1994).

On the political level, movements to increase democracy and build citizenship raised feminist consciousness. Women have entered the work force and are seeking better education and equality in the workplace. Dual-career and dual-worker marriages have become common in urban areas. In the capital city, Brasilia, a vast number of man and women are employed full-time in public offices and in the administrative service sector.

Approximately five hundred men and women living in this area participated in a study regarding dual-career/dual-worker marriages (Diniz 1999). Men and women in the study agreed that work allows women to enjoy greater independence and freedom. Work, besides a source of financial success, is valued as a means to obtain personal and relational benefits, an increased sense of competency and self-esteem, and a social network. Discrimination in payment and sexual harassment were mentioned as disadvantages for women. Women felt that the burden of traditional role expectations exacerbated work stress; they continue to be responsible for the majority of domestic activities. However, 35 percent of the men said that they perform approximately half or more of the household tasks. A cultural factor—easy access to hired help—probably mitigates role overload for women. Men and women are happy with their marriages and are willing to make efforts for the relationship to work (Diniz 1999).

The number of families living in poverty has increased dramatically. The main reasons for this are decreased spending power due to high inflation rates, increased unemployment rates, and political and economic policies that deprive access to social benefits. Many male and female heads of households have resorted to an informal job market and now depend on unstable income (Carvalho 1995).

Women have had a major role in guaranteeing the maintenance of the family. In an informal economy it is easier for them to become nannies, maids, and house cleaners. They also perform in-home activities such as sewing, embroidery, and handcrafting. Many have started small businesses, absorbing other family members' labor. Minors commonly quit school to help support the family. Family roles and distribution of power have been reorganized. Many men, ashamed with the inversion of roles flee their homes. Excessive idle time boosts alcoholism, often precipitating the woman or the rest of the family to expel the alcohol-dependent man. Due to the mobility of the male population, women have become the stable reference around which family life revolves.

Massive migration from rural to urban areas has also influenced poverty levels. Lack of formal education, poor job skills, and inadequate governmental support make everyday living a challenge for migrant families, who largely dwell in urban slums. Leaning on group resources is a major survival strategy for this population. Many share their small houses or lots with extended family members or acquaintances from their places of origin. Their lives are bound together by mutual dependency, solidarity, and a shared value in family and friendship ties (Mello 1995).

Silvia L. de Mello (1995) and Maria do Carmo B. de Carvalho (1995) call attention to the process of deprivation and discrimination imposed by the larger society upon impoverished families. The enormous difficulties these families face are often underestimated and attributed to personality deformities or characteristics such as laziness or incompetence. These families are also seen as disorganized, an idea based on myths of how a normal or good family should live. The gravity of their social situation defies simplistic normative explanations of a psychological, sociological, or political nature. Jerusa V. Gomes (1995) proposes a larger concept—abandoned families—rather than abandoned children, irresponsible parents, or other similar classifications. She calls for an awareness of the social violence and institutionalization enforced upon the unprivileged.

Perspectives of the Future

Brazil faces many challenges in the age of globalization. Old problems have gained new dimensions, and many new ones have been added to compound an already complex situation. Among these difficulties, the crises of the welfare state and its repercussions on social and family life, such as the institutionalization of individual and group necessities, deserve further attention. Furthermore, Brazilian social policies have not addressed factors that promote exclusion or limited access to social benefits. There is a great degree of inequality between the rich and poor, and the concentration of liquid wealth in the hands of few remains an important social issue. The middle class continues to shrink, and poverty continues to increase. Carvalho (1995) appropriately named this process social apartheid. Its impact on family structure, function, and roles needs to be researched.

The indigenous population. Brazil has neglected to care for its original inhabitants. The Indian population has dropped to 510,000 including those located on reservations and in cities. The majority of Indians (58%) live in the Amazon region, divided into 230 nations (UnB revista 2001). During the 1988 constitutional revision, the Indians fought for recognition of ethnic differences and for better access to land, healthcare, education, and other social benefits. After a successful campaign, the Indians gained full civil rights as citizens (Ramos 2001).

The African population. Africans have been victims of policies that maintained their exclusion. The Republican project sustained racism, ideas of inferiority, and the biological determinism of colonial times, and prohibited Africans from property ownership. The implicit belief was that Africans lacked the ability to become educated and socially successful (Neder 1998). During the constitutional revision the black movement organized politically to ensure their rights. As in the case of the Indians, much needs to be done to repair the losses brought about by the continued denial of Brazilian-African civil rights and by the minimization of their contribution to the economic, social, political, and cultural fabric of the nation.

Traditional vs. modern family structures. The diversity of family life in Brazil has yet to be represented in the legal discourse about the family. Leila L. Barsted (1987) focuses on the distance between law and social reality. The family form generally considered is nuclear, patriarchal, hierarchical, and monogamic. It refl