Week 6 Brazil: a revisionist Great Power, or Fragmented Development?

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FHSS, Bond University, QLD Australia Department of International Relations

Latin America R. James Ferguson © 2006
Week 6
Brazil: A Revisionist Great Power,

or Fragmented Development?
Topics: -

1. Formative Histories and the Many Brazils

2. Brazil and the Politics of Democratisation

3. An Industrial Power, but with Limits

4. Brazil and Uneven Development

5. Brazil's Independent Foreign Policy

6. Bibliography and Resources
1. Formative Histories and the Many Brazils
Brazil is such a large and diverse country, geographically and politically, that it has sometimes been spoken of as 'several Brazils', with very different regional conditions in the North, Northeast, West Central, South and Southeast. This has led to the rise of regional identities, and to the challenge of 'forge' these regions into a single nation (Eakin 1998, p2). Yet taken together, Brazil is a state with enormous potential, and in Latin America comprises one of the potential 'great powers' in international terms. As noted by Lincoln Gordon: -
Brazil is the world's fifth largest nation-state in both area and population and ninth in total economic output. It accounts for more than one-third of Latin America's total population and production. Its economy in 1998 outranked that of all but the United States, Japan, China, and the four leading countries of Europe. Among America's export destinations in the Western Hemisphere, it is surpassed only by Canada and Mexico. It has the world's eight largest share of American direct foreign investments, far exceeding those in any other Latin American country. In recent years, it has also been a major destination for portfolio investment. (Gordon 2001, p1; brackets added)
Yet this potential never seems fully articulated or achieved, with numerous developmental problems holding back both the power of the state and the quality of life for many Brazilians. Brazil is sometimes spoken of as 'the once and future country'. Hence the Brazilian proverb: 'Brazil is the country of the future - and always will be.' (Eakin 1998, p1).
The name of Brazil itself comes from the name for a hardwood, brasile, which was used to produce a red dye, one of the first commercial products used by the Portuguese. However, as we shall see, Brazil soon moved from being a relatively poor Portuguese colony to one of the most powerful states in South America.

Brazil and its Neighbours (Courtesy PCL Map Library)
Brazil has a huge resource base including iron ore, uranium, bauxite, manganese, timbre, coffee, sugar production, soybeans, orange juice and other strong agricultural exports, so that the country is the fourth largest exporter of agricultural products, with a strong boost in agribusness exports through 2003-2005, with 'Brazil is already the world's leading exporter of orange juice, chicken, tobacco, coffee', along with increasing beef production (BBC 2005b; Eakin 1998, p4; Margolis 2004). Although it has considerable hydro-electric power resources, it has limited coal and petroleum resources, leading to effort to diversify energy souces (for recent moves to increase oil and gas from Bolivian fields, see Bowen 1999). Over the last five decades it has also built up a strong industrial, automotive and technological sector. It has a current population of approx. 177 million, and its population is expected to stabilise in the 250-300 million range around the mid-21st century (Gordon 2001, p13; DFAT 2004).
Table A. Chronology of Important Events: 1494-1888 (edited from Hudson 1997)

June 7, 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas divides the world between Spain and Portugal, giving Portugal claim to eastern portion of as yet undiscovered continent of South America.

1500-1815 Colonial Period

April 22, 1500 Pedro Álvares Cabral, en route to India, discovers Brazil.

1500-50 Logging of brazilwood.

1530 Expedition of Martim Afonso de Sousa, major captain of Brazil, to colonize and distribute land among captains (donatários ).

1530 Beginning of sugar era.

1532 Founding of first colonies at São Vicente and Piratininga.

1536 Crown divides Brazil into fifteen donatory captaincies.

1542 Francisco de Orellana descends the Amazon.

1549 King names Tomé de Sousa first governor general of Brazil (1549-53). De Sousa establishes his capital at São Salvador da Bahia.

Evangelization begins with arrival of Jesuit priests.

1551 Bishopric of Brazil created.

1555 French establish colony in Guanabara Bay.

1565 Governor Mem de Sá founds São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro).

1567 Governor Mem de Sá expels French and occupies Guanabara Bay.

1580 Crown of Portugal passes to King Philip II of Spain, uniting Europe's two greatest empires under single ruler.

1604 India Council established to oversee administration of Portuguese empire.

1615 Portuguese take over French town of São Luís do Maranhão.

1616 Portuguese found Belém.

1621 States of Maranhão and Brazil (centering on Salvador, Bahia) created.

1630 Dutch seize Recife, Pernambuco, and attempt unsuccessfully to conquer Northeast


1637-39 Captain Pedro Teixeira explores Amazon and founds Tabatinga.

1640 Portugal declares independence from Spain. Duke of Bragança takes throne as João IV.

1641 Victory of Jesuit-trained Guaraní in Battle of Mbororé.

1654 Under Treaty of Taborda, Dutch withdraw from Brazil.

1680 Colônia do Sacramento founded by Portuguese on Río de la Plata, across from Buenos Aires.

1693 Era of gold and diamond mining begins.

1705 Under Treaty of Spanish Succession, Portuguese give up Colônia do Sacramento.

1708-09 War of Outsiders over control of gold-mining areas.

1710-14 War of the Mascates (merchant class of Recife defeats planter class of Olinda).

1720 Governors general of Brazil renamed viceroys.

1727 Coffee introduced into Brazil.

January 1750 Treaty of Madrid replaces Treaty of Tordesillas, and possession to settle

boundaries. José I (king of Portugal, 1750-77) assumes the throne in Portugal.

1756 Guaraní War leads to expulsion of Jesuits.

1759 Pombal expels Jesuits from the empire.

1761 Treaty of El Pardo annuls Treaty of Madrid.

1763 Viceregal capital moved from Salvador, Bahia, to Rio de Janeiro.

1777 Treaty of San Ildefonso confirms Spain's possession of Banda Oriental (Uruguay) and Portugal's possession of Amazon Basin. Pombal dismissed.

February 1777 King José I dies.

1789 Minas Conspiracy, first attempt to establish a republic, exposed.

1798 Bahian conspiracy against Portugal exposed.


1807 French invade Portugal. Pedro de Alcântara de Bragança e Bourbon (King João VI) and son Pedro flee to Brazil with British naval escort.

1808-21 Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil

March 7, 1808 João VI arrives in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's ports open to foreign trade.

1810 João VI signs treaties with Britain, giving it trade preferences and privileges of


1815 Portugal confers kingdom status on Brazil.

1817 Pernambuccan revolution against British regency fails but deepens anti-British sentiment.

1821 Uruguay annexed as Cisplatine Province.

April 25, 1821 João VI sails for Lisbon.

Sept. 1821 Côrtes in Portugal votes to abolish Kingdom of Brazil.

1822-31 The First Empire

January 1822 Declaring Brazil independent, Pedro I forms new government headed by José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva.

Sept. 7, 1822 Pedro proclaims Brazilian independence.

Oct. 12, 1822 Brazilian independence proclaimed, with Pedro as constitutional emperor.

Dec. 1, 1822 Pedro crowned emperor of Brazil.

1824 Pedro promulgates first constitution. United States recognizes Brazil.

1825-28 War with United Provinces of Río de la Plata (Cisplatine War).

Aug. 29, 1825 Portugal recognizes Brazilian independence by treaty, and Britain follows suit.

1827 Britain consolidates commercial dominance of Brazil under Anglo-Brazilian Treaty.

1828 Argentina and Brazil agree to creation of Uruguay as independent nation.

1831-89 The Second Empire

April 7, 1831 Pedro I abdicates in favor of five-year-old son Pedro II. A three-man regency assumes control, ruling in Pedro II's name.

1834 Amendment of 1824 constitution institutes federalism (for six years) and one-man regency.

1835-37 Cabanagem rebellion in Pará.

1835-45 War of the Farrapos (ragamuffins), also known as the Farroupilha rebellion, in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.

1837-38 Sabinada rebellion in Salvador, Bahia.

1838-41 Balaiada rebellion in Maranhão.

July 18, 1841 Coronation of Pedro II (emperor, 1840-89).

1842 Rebellions in Minas Gerais and São Paulo.

1844 Anglo-Brazilian Treaty expires and is not renewed.

1850 Land Law limits land acquisition to purchase. African slave trade outlawed.

1864-70 War of the Triple Alliance, allying Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay against Paraguay.

1869 Brazilian forces defeat Paraguayan dictator Francisco Solano López and occupy Paraguay until 1878.

1870 Triple Alliance defeats Paraguay.

May 13, 1888 Golden Law abolishes slavery.

As usual, we will use a thematic approach to simplify the history of Brazil. Major historical and development issues include: -
* Although the Tupí-Guaraní tribes of Brazil did not construct extended empires with stone architecture, they did form dispersed tribal groups who numbered 3-6 million in 1500 (Eakin 1998, p13). Indians of the Tupi language group, in particular, dominated a long stretch of the Atlantic coastline, and the Amazon and other major river systems (Ribeiro 2000, p11). They built pre-urban agricultural villages, utilising a wide variety of crops and clearing the forest as needed. The Indians viewed the arrival of the Europeans as a fearsome event, tinged with religious aspects, since perhaps they came from the divine creator of the people, Maíra (Ribeiro 2000, p19), but few would have realised that for most of them their way of life would be radically transformed. The early entry of the Amerindians into Brazil's colonial economy began on a number of fronts: direct conquest and enslavement, but also integration into European trade and barter networks, and then conversion by Christian missionaries. One major pretext for conquest and enslavement were the early accounts of cannibalism among some of these tribes (Ribeiro 2000, p25), which was viewed by the Portuguese as a non-Christian barbarism that must be exterminated at all costs. There were also certain utopian elements in some of the early Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries, who hoped to create protected areas where the 'innocent' Indians could develop into true Christian communities (Ribeiro 2000, pp33-35). This trend was soon crushed by the colonial need for land and slaves. Bandeiras or inland expeditions soon moved further afield in search of slaves, often conducted by 'Brazilindians or mamelucos', those who had European fathers and indigenous mothers (Ribeiro 2000, p58, p68; see further Geipel 1993). In spite of theoretical laws ensuring the freedom of the Indians, there were in fact numerous loopholes - thousands at a time were often enslaved at will.
* During the 15th and 16th centuries Portugal and Spain competed in their empire-building and trade networks, leading to the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, whereby Portugal gained control of the eastern parts of Brazil. Through the Treaty of Madrid in 1750 this boundary would be adjusted westward to allow Portugal to claim the territories it already controlled into the interior of Brazil, and allowing Spain control of the colonies along the Andes, the Caribbean and Pacific coast (Eakin 1998,p23). The powerful legacy of Portuguese language and culture is one of the layers of identity of Brazil. This emerged as a distinctive, diverse and inventive Luso-Brazilian culture in many ways rather different from its Portuguese origins, with distinctive features of popular social culture and the role of the family and honour (see Ramos 2000).
* Early Portuguese control of Brazil was not entirely secure. The Portuguese crown itself was for a time taken over by the Spanish (1580-1640), while from the 1620s the Dutch attacked several coastal cities and until the 1850s they occupied Recife (Eakin 1998, p21). The Portuguese also had to fight against loose alliances of Amerindians, e.g. the Confederation of the Tamoios, who sometimes could field thousands of warriors. Various Europeans, e.g. the French, Spanish and the Portuguese, used native armies in their conquests and wars (Ribeiro 2000, p12). One tribal group, the Gauikuru, adopted the horse and elements of Jesuit education, and for a time managed to threaten European expansion in the southern part of Brazil (Ribeiro 2000, pp13-15). From 1640 onwards Britain became one of the major commercial and political allies of Portugal, and the 19th century Britain was one of the main investors in Brazil.
* At first Brazil was viewed as a relatively poor colony, with the expansion of sugar plantations as one of the main ways that the Portuguese tried to boost revenues. Though this remained an important part of the economy for some centuries, Brazil soon had strong competition from Haiti and Cuba in this market. This was later followed by coffee as early as the 1840s, with Brazil emerging as the world's leading exporter. At various times other agricultural products such as rubber, cotton, soya beans, and orange juice were of varying importance in the national economy (Gordon 2001, p28), though as of 1999 agricultural only accounted for around 8.7% of GDP (DFAT 2000). One inventive product, Pro-Alcohol, a fuel made from sugarcane, though technically a success, has had to be subsidised and remains higher than the cost of petrol (Gordon 2001, p100). Likewise, ethanol has been produced as a fuel, and in early 2004 Brazil has begun to consider to using Australian sugar cane as a source for ethanol that could be exported into the Asian market (Australasian Business Intelligence 2004b; for other bio-diesel fuel developments in Brazil, see Aronow 2004).
* It was in the context of the need for labour for sugar and coffee plantations that Brazil first began its massive importation of African slaves, especially due to the decimation of indigenous people, largely through lack of immunity to European diseases such as smallpox, as well as due to warfare and displacement. Enslavement of Amerindians continued through to the 17th century, with slaving raids being launched into the interior. Some 3-4 million Africans were forcibly transported to Brazil (Eakin 1998, p18). African slaves and their descendants soon formed a major component of the agricultural and mining workforces, with many Africans coming from Angola, the Indian Ocean Coast, Ghana, and Benin, with some groups being Muslims, e.g. the groups such as the Male, Hausa, Mandinga and Fula (Geipel 1997; Lovejoy 1997). By the late 1990s, at least 30-45% of Brazil had partial African backgrounds, though only 5% would be of unbroken African lineage (Geipel 1997; Eakin 1998, p19). Slavery itself was a crucial institution in the formation of the Brazilian economy, and it was only slowly dismantled between 1850 and the 1880s. These groups often formed religious associations, dedicated to proper prayer, decent burials, and in some cases to buying freedom for their members (see Nishida 1998).
* In Brazil of the 19th-20th century, the strong presence of African peoples, plus the mixing of Portuguese and Indians (caboclos), especially in the interior, created a racially diverse and varied population (Eakin 1998, p19). This lead to the ideal view of the Republic of Brazil as an 'ethnic democracy', but this tends to ignore the fact that poverty and lack of education still correlate to some degree with people who have strong African descent, or those who come from poorer rural areas (see Sansone 2004; Htun 2005). This meant that by the late 20th century, there was no bar on race per se, but rather distinctions based on education, class and regional background. Ironically, the myth of race equality has made it harder for subtle forms of discrimination to be fought, and for a strong black movement to emerge and reclaim its unique cultural links with its African heritage (see Fitzpatrick 2002; White 1998). Over the last several years a number of affirmative action policies have emerged to reduce some of these negative outcomes, but in general the government action tends to address poverty and lack of education, rather than directly address the problem of racism as such (Sansone 2004; Htun 2005).
* From 1887-1914 there was a second major wave of European migration, especially from Italy, Spain and Portugal, with some 2.7 million migrants arriving, especially in the south of Brazil (Eakin 1998, p34). Smaller numbers from Germany and East Europe would also migrate (Lafer 2000).
* The cultural formation of Brazil was thus shaped by several factors: "African music, religions, foods, and language patterns blended with the culture of the Portuguese and the Indians to produce a cultural mosaic that was not African, European, or Native American." (Eakin 1998, p33). Alongside these main streams there were smaller groups, e.g. some Arabic, Jewish, and Japanese migrants who added to the great diversity of Brazil (Ribeiro 2000, p2). From the early 1920s Brazilian intellectuals and artists sought for ways to merge this as a unique and authentic Brazilian culture (Eakin 1998, 40). These themes of Brazil as a modern culture with its own particular national traits, were taken up in the fifties by writers such as Gilberto Freyre (Geipel 1997; Skidmore 2002; Gordon 2001, p9). Today, Brazil has vigorous and unique cultural sources of inspiration that have generated special musical (classical, folk, jazz and modern) forms, dance patterns and festivals, a strong modern literature and unique religious fusions (e.g. candomble) that form part of popular culture, as well as help structure strong media and tourism industries (see McGowan & Pessanha 1998).
* The discovery of gold in the interior of the southeast from the 1690s radically boosted the wealth of the colony, leading to a 'golden age'. This boosted colonisation and population movement into the region of Minas Gerais (General Mines), helping the early push into the interior of Brazil (Eakin 1998, p23).
* There has been a tendency from the late 18th century onwards for economic and political dominance of the Southeast (particularly the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais), to form the 'economic, political, and population core of the country' - here 43% of the population on 10% of the land generates about 65% of Brazil's wealth (Eakin 1998, p2; Gordon 2001, p11). This was historically due to the discovery of gold in Minas Gerais, and accelerated once the capital moved from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro in 1763. During the early Republican period between 1894 and 1930, the 'coffee states' of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais tended to dominate the political system and the office of president. This group allowed local 'colonels' in the interior to control their regions in return for support for the national government (Eakin 1998, p38). This would lead to political violence in 1930 (the Revolution of 1930). The imbalance of development between the southeast and poor areas such as the northeast would continue through the 20th century (see below). Thus, for example, a special Superintendency for Development of the Northeast (SUDENE) was created to try to balance agricultural development (Gordon 2001, p43) and poverty in this poorer part of the country.
* From the 19th century colonial elites in Brazil's Northeast (Salvador and Recife) and in the Southeast (Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro) soon began to develop a sense of political autonomy, and a need to greater economic autonomy (Eakin 1998, p26). However, history would lead Brazil along a very different path to independence than the revolutionary movements of the Hispanic colonies. In 1807, when the French invaded Portugal, the Portuguese crown, along with 10,000 dependents, moved en masse with the help of the British fleet to the safety of (and strong economic base) of Brazil. In 1815 Napoleon was defeated but for a time the King João refused to return, at last advising his son Pedro to try to remain in Brazil. In 1822, Pedro broke with the restraining degrees of the Portuguese Parliament, and issued the famous cry "Independence or death! We have separated from Portugal!" (Eakin 1998, p29). In this way, with little more than token resistance from Portugal, Brazil became an independence kingdom based around a constitutional monarchy and the formation of a Brazilian empire. More serious, however, were the following twenty years of regional revolts which almost fractured the new nation (Eakin 1998, p29). Pedro abdicated in 1831 to reduce further bloodshed, and was then succeed by the young Pedro II, who took active power from 1840-1889.
* Early in its history Brazil became embroiled in expensive conflicts with Argentina over control of the Río de la Plata, leading in the 1820s to Cisplatine War, and then to the formation of the independent nation of Uruguay as a buffer state (Eakin 1998, p30). In the 1860s Brazil joined with Uruguay and Argentina in a six-year long, bloody but eventually 'successful' war against Paraguay. In the long run, Brazil and Argentina would tend toward geo-political competition, which would only be largely diffused in the 1980s (recent trends suggest an effort to move towards being 'strategic partners' within Mercosur, and in the relation to the IMF, see below). Thereafter, major wars were avoided in a hundred years of non-democratic peace: -
Argentine-Brazil relations have indeed evolved from guarded coexistence for over a century, with little economic interaction and a tacit nuclear competition until the late 1980s, to a denuclearized zone underpinning the economic integration of the South Cone in the 1990s. Despite sharp differences in the fabric if relations over time, avoidance of war remained constant throughout (after the 1820s). (Solingen 1998, p154)
* There was nonetheless a continued tendency for regions or layers of Brazilian society to engage in revolt, e.g. in 1897 the Canudos revolt in the interior of Bahia, following a mystic who rejected the modern, secular state (Eakin 1998, p39).
* Like much of Latin America, the early political system was divided among Conservatives and Liberals: -
Conservatives looked back to Iberian values and traditions for their inspiration and sought to maintain the influence of the Catholic Church, a strong centralized monarchy, and the slave economy. Liberals sought to mould their country in the image of England, France, and the United States. They wanted to diminish the influence of the Church, restrain centralization and monarchy, and move towards a free labor economy. These were the ideals. When in power, each tended to be pragmatic, sometimes implementing their opponents' programs (Eakin 1998, p31)
During the mid-19th century, these parties were balanced by the moderating power of the crown, allowing Brazil a period of relative stability (Eakin 1998, p34).
* From the 1870s a Republican movement developed, seeking to end the monarchy, and, influenced by the positivist ideas of Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer, to create a Republic on a model similar to that of the United States (Eakin 1998, p35). This ideas would also shape 'generations of military officers' (Eakin 1998, p35), who would in many ways see themselves as the guardians of a rational republic, leading to their intervention in politics (see below). A coup in 1889 led to Brazil's First Republic, while a new constitution was formulated in 1891, and again in 1988.
* From the 1920s Brazil would begin to develop an industrial base in its major cities, followed by the creation of working and middle classes. Under state guidance and protectionism, this base would expand during the 1930s and 1940s, by which time Brazil was producing about 90% of its own consumer goods (Eakin 1998, p44). From the 1940s, with U.S. help, it would build the large steel complex at Volta Redonda, followed by strong industrial development through the 1950s and 1960s (see below).
* Partly as a counterbalance to the Southeast, the modern Brazil state moved to rapidly develop the Centre-West, especially with the placement of the modern capital of Brasília in the middle of this 'heartland' in 1960 (Eakin 1998, p3). This accelerated the opening of this zone, which stretches into the southern Amazon, during the 1970s and 1980s, at first along extended highways.
* In spite of its large resource base and solid industrial development from the 1950s onward, Brazil faced major economic challenges. These included high levels of foreign debt, going to $120 billion through the 1980s, with periods of repeated recession and high inflation, at times reaching 50% a month (Eakin 1998, p3). Inflation rates have now been stabilised, to around 5-15% through the years of 1999-2004 (DFAT 2004), but only with extreme difficult and after the creation of a new currency, the real (see below). In part, this was because the model of development chosen by Brazil from the 1950-1980s still required massive investment and modernisation of their industrial base, as well as large volumes of imports while this was done. Public-debt remained high, representing some 56% of GDP in 2002, though this was a serious reduction from 2000 and 2001. Public debt in 2002 was in the order of $250 billion, though this was sustainable so long as the economy remained stable (Economist 2003a).
2. Brazil and the Politics of Democratisation
One of the problematic areas for modern politics has been the trend for politics to be based on party and individual coalitions, rather than sustained debates over policies (the word política, sometimes used negatively, stands in for both the concept of policy and politics). In regional and local levels politicians can often change parties and coalitions and ‘can do so because political parties tend not to represent divergent political philosophies as much as power alignments’ (Finan 1999, p2). In this context, ordinary people often speak of the government as distinct from the people, ‘o povo’ (Finan 1999, p2). In general terms, this has led to conflictual politics even as the country has moved to a more open political system.
Table B. Chronology of the Brazilian Republic: 1889-1995 (from Hudson 1997)
Nov. 15, 1889 Army deposes Pedro II. Republic proclaimed. Deodoro da Fonseca assumes office as president. Pedro leaves the country.

1889-1930 Old or First Republic

1890 Church and State separated.

Feb. 24, 1891 First constitution promulgated.

Nov. 1891 Deodoro da Fonseca dissolves Congress and is ousted.

1893 A civil war erupts in South (Sul).

Nov. 1894 First civilian president, Prudente José de Morais Barros, takes office.

August 1914 Contestado rebellion in South challenges colonel-dominated system.

Oct. 26, 1917 Brazil declares war on Germany and joins Allied powers.

July 5, 1922 Tenente (Lieutenants') Movement begins with Copacabana revolt.

1924-27 Prestes Column marches through backlands but fails to foment popular revolution.

1930-45 Transitional Republic

Oct. 3, 1930 Revolts of 1930 bring Getúlio Dorneles Vargas to power.

July 9, 1932 São Paulo rebellion brings civil war.

July 16, 1934 A new constitution promulgated, and Congress elects Vargas to presidency.

Nov. 10, 1937 Estado Novo (New State) established, and previously drafted constitution promulgated.

Aug. 22, 1942 Brazil declares war on Axis powers.

1944 Brazilian Expeditionary Force sent to Italy. First steel mill opens.

Oct. 29, 1945 Military deposes Vargas.

1946-64 1946 Republic

Sept. 18, 1946 A new constitution promulgated.

January 1951 Vargas assumes office as reelected president.

Aug. 24, 1954 Vargas commits suicide after armed forces and cabinet demand his resignation.

Jan. 1956-1961 President Juscelino Kubitschek implements new economic strategy combining nationalist, developmentalist emphasis with openness to world economic system, creating economic boom.

1960 Capital moved inland to Brasília.

January 1961 Jânio Quadros assumes presidency.

Sept. 2, 1961 A parliamentary system established.

August 1961 Quadros resigns presidency; replaced by João Goulart.

1963 National plebiscite ends parliamentary system and restores full presidential powers to Goulart.

Mar. 31, 1964 Armed forces depose Goulart.

1964-85 Military Republic

April 1964 Marshal Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, elected by purged Congress, assumes presidency. First Institutional Act passed.

Oct. 27, 1965 Second Institutional Act bans all existing political parties and imposes legal guidelines for new parties.

Feb. 6, 1966 Third Institutional Act replaces direct election of governors with indirect elections by state assemblies and substitutes presidential appointees for mayors of capital cities.

March 1967 New constitution promulgated. General Artur da Costa e Silva president.

Sept. 1, 1967 Fourth Institutional Act gives military complete control over national security.

Dec. 13, 1968 Fifth Institutional Act gives Costa e Silva dictatorial powers.

April 1977 Brazil renounces military alliance with United States.

January 1979 Decree ends Fifth Institutional Act, grants political amnesty.

1985 Military steps down from political power. Democracy restored.

1985-Present New Republic

1988 Citizen constitution" promulgated.

Mar. 22, 1988 Presidential model reinstated.

Nov. 15, 1989 First direct presidential election since 1960.

June 1992 UNCED, known as Earth Summit or Eco-92, held in Rio de Janeiro.

Sept. 1992 President Fernando Collor de Mello impeached.

April 21, 1993 National plebiscite reaffirms presidential republic.

March 9, 1994 Congress approves constitutional reform reducing presidential term of office to four years, making it coterminous with term of congressional deputies.

July 1, 1994 New currency, the Real , introduced at parity with United States dollar.

Oct. 3, 1994 Fernando Henrique Cardoso wins presidential election in first round.

Dec. 12, 1994 Former president Collor acquitted of corruption.

Jan. 1, 1995 Cardoso assumes office as president.

In part this goes back to the strong, differential regional legacies of Brazil, with local groups sometimes engaging in revolts against central authorities. This meant, in effect, that from the 1930s Brazilian politics has always had to try to find 'a workable and stable realignment' of existing powers and interest groups (Eakin 1998, p42).
We can see this in the way one leader, Getúlio Vargas would be able to trade off these social forces, emerging as the head of a revolutionary government between 1930-1934, then as the president of an elected assembly in 1934, and then against at the head of coup which ushered in the 'New State' (Estado Novo) for some eight years (Eakin 1998, p43). Although pushed out of power by the military in 1945, he was elected president in elections in for 1950-54 period. Vargas was a 'populist' leader in that he sought to mobilise traditional groupings in society: combining nationalism, the rhetoric of social welfare, and continuing support for the 'coffee elite'. It fostered 'state enterprise, military participation in industrial development, and populism' (Solingen 1998, p128). At various times he also crushed the left and the Communist Party, and then later on the Integralists, Brazil's fascist party (Eakin 1998, p45). What is surprising about Vargas is that he could try to move above the politics of left and right, as well as to be both a dictator and an elected president. He tried to build a strong Brazil on the basis of state intervention in the economy and nationalisation of key industries, e.g. the national oil monopoly Petrobrás was created during this period, along with the National Steel Company in 1942 (Gordon 2001, p5, p41), but he had to fight high levels of inflation. He also became embroiled in political scandals and came under pressure to step down by the military high command: he then killed himself. Ironically, he posthumously appeared as a hero of Brazilian nationalism.
Brazil moved towards a serious 'experiment in democracy' during the 1945-64 period during which voting and mass support were needed by the elites that contested for power (Eakin 1998, p46). Major political parties such as the conservative UDN (União Democrática Nacional), the progressive PSD (Partido Social Democrático), the workers party (PTB, the Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro) and the Communist Party (PCB) were active during this period, though the PCB was banned in 1947 (Eakin 1998, p47).
Perhaps the most successful in creating the image of Brazil as an emerging power was the 1955 President Juscelino Kubitschek, who used a strongly nationalist and developmentalist model to push forward Brazil's industrial base, with the creation of steel and automotive industries, as well as improvements and infrastructure, and the creation of a new futurist capital in the interior, Brasília. The automotive industry began in earnest in 1956, with European and U.S. car companies being given favourable conditions for importing key components, to be followed by greater 'Brazilianisation' of content. By 1997, Brazil was producing 2 million vehicles a year, ranking eighth largest in global output (Gordon 2001, p41). At first, car production clustered tightly around the suburbs of São Paulo. Forward and backward linkages into component manufacturing and servicing helped develop the economy, while at the same time road networks and highways were greatly extended. However, the trends developed through the 1950s and 1960s were not all positive. The thinking of the period sought to replace imports of consumer goods, thereby reducing payments for imports. However, as the economy sought to modernise, it still needed the import of new components, production equipment, and some raw materials (such as petroleum), thus 're-creating the foreign exchange bottleneck in a new guise' (Gordon 2001, p46). On this basis, Brazil had 'to run twice as hard' to catch up with the developed world from which it still needed to import key items for its industrialisation policy, as well to export products in a competitive world economy. As such, this developmentalist strategy was only partly successful.
Kubitschek was followed by Jânio Quadros who also sought to symbolise an industrial, efficient Brazil, but his administration soon fell into political chaos, a growing debt crisis and high inflation, which continued under the following administration of João Goulart (Eakin 1998, p51). It was during this time that elements in the military command in Brazil began to see themselves as part of the front line against worldwide Communism, and began to be concerned about a growing leftist elements, especially the Peasant Leagues and labour organisations, even though these were relatively weak in terms of controlling national politics (Eakin 1998, pp53-54). President Goulart himself sought to mobilise mass support from the left and the trade unions, using public rallies and public media appeals that seemed to undermine the military chain of command, including a direct appeal to sergeants to disobey orders if they were not in the interest of the nation (Gordon 2001, p51 Eakin 1998, p55). It is not surprising that General Olímpio Mourão Filho soon ordered his to troops to move on the capital, followed by other garrisons, thereby staging a successful military coup. There were also rumours that Goulart's overthrow had been aided indirectly by the United States. Though there is little direct evidence of this (Gordon 2001, p60), it is also true that the U.S. was annoyed by Goulart's leftist orientation and his 'anti-Yankee' foreign policy. It is also true that the U.S. did direct a naval task force (a carrier group) towards Brazil at the time of the coup, possibly to aid U.S. citizens within Brazil if needed, but also to exert psychological pressure in support of the anti-Goulart forces (Gordon 2001, p66).
Brazil thus suffered from military intervention after the collapse of democratic processes in 1964. Earlier (shorter) interventions where the army acted as a 'political broker' had occurred in 1889, 1930, 1937, 1945, 1954-55, and 1961 (Eakin 1998, p55). From 1964 the military moved to crush the left and the labour movement, as well as to try and solve the problems of the economy through a technocratic and nationalistic approach, including state intervention in the economy based in part on a development plan propagated from the Higher War College (Solingen 1998, p129). Within the military itself there were the moderate followers of Castello Branco, who was first appointed president in 1964, as well as a group of hardliners who favoured permanent military rule (Gordon 2001, p73). After massive waves of unrest in 1968, including student protests and urban guerillas actions (for these movements, see Alves de Abreu 1997), the army became even more oppressive, using torture and execution against political opponents (Eakin 1998, p57). In the early 1970s up to 333 opponents of the government 'disappeared' (Gordon 2001, p74).
After a period of direct military rule, there was only a very gradual return ('relaxation' and 'opening') to full civilian power from 1975 to 1984 (Gordon 2001, p9). Democracy returned in 1985, but only in 1989 were the first direct elections for the presidency held. As part of this process, in 1979 there was a widespread amnesty, applying both to guerrillas, and to police and military officers. This did not lead to justice, but it did avoid continued political warfare (Gordon 2001, p75) that may well have stopped the 'relaxation' of military power. It was during this period (1964-1985) that Brazil's relationship with the U.S. was at its height, based on Washington's need for anti-communist partners, and a sense that Brazil as an emerging power would be a useful regional power (Perry 2000). The period 1967-1973 also saw strong economic growth of around 10% per annum, but largely based on boosted development of heavy industry, especially the metallurgical and petrochemical industries (Solingen 1998, p129).
This return to civilian rule also involved the drafting of a new Constitution in 1988: -
The Constitution of 1988, drafted by an assembly composed of elected member of Congress (deputies and senators) and containing 245 articles and 70 "transitional provisions," reflected a populist reaction against the military regime. It gave constitutional protection not only for vital civil rights and liberties but also for social and economic privileges for a large array of special interest groups. Together with political party and electoral mechanics, which greatly overweight parochial interests and give undue strength to states and municipalities at the expense of the central government, it created high hurdles for economic and social reforms essential to full modernization. (Gordon 2001, pp2-3)
Democratic life was to receive a further shock in 1991. In spite of some successes in privatisation of national industries and reduction of military budgets (Solingen 1998, pp147-148), and his earlier popularity, President Fernando Collor de Mello, was impeached in 1991, with investigations then indicating widespread graft and corruption of segments of Congress (Eakin 1998, p3). This indicated some of the traditional weaknesses of Brazilian politics, but in spite of this his impeachment, and the current widespread media attention given to politics, it also indicates that democracy as a competitive system was vigorously alive.
Through the mid and late 1990s, the following Cardoso administration moved to effectively stabilise Brazil in a number of ways. His mandate to rule from the elections of 1994, supported by the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), the center-right Liberal Front Party (PFL) and the Brazilian Workers' Party (PTB), was largely based on an effective financial stabilisation program that greatly slowed the inflation of the early 1990s, with a reduction of monthly inflation from 50% a month down to 1.3 a month within less than a year (Solingen 1998, p148; see further below). Partial privatisation of the state mining, telephone, electricity and oil companies began from 1997 (Solingen 1998, p149). His second term however, leading up to the 2002 elections, however, revealed the limits of how far reform could be taken. Not all aspects of his 'austerity, de-bureacratization, trade liberalization, and privatization' program (Perry 2000) could be fully realised in the complex legal and political system of Brazil. The political system favours a strong presidential system (four year term with one option for one re-election), moderated by set payments to states and towns, with a weaker emphasis on a bicameral federal parliamentary system, based on 26 states and federal district (Gordon 2001, p151; DFAT 2004). In electoral politics,
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