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Brazil Index

Print and electronic media play a very important role in Brazilian politics. Until the 1988 constitution, the president had the exclusive prerogative to allocate radio and television concessions. From 1985 through 1988, television and radio concessions became the "currency of political negotiation" as President Sarney tried to maintain majorities in Congress. Although "social control" over concessions and renewals is called for in the new constitution, no such action had been taken until Cardoso's new minister of communications, Sérgio Motta, served notice in 1995 that all pending concessions would be canceled and a National Social Control Commission would be established that would use different criteria.

Shortly after radio arrived in Brazil in the 1930s, President Vargas initiated weekday transmissions of the Voice of Brazil, as propaganda on government operations. The news show, which emphasizes activities in and around government and political circles, carries thirty minutes of news from the executive branch and thirty minutes from Congress and the judiciary.

Media owners have very definite political agendas and pursue them assiduously. Francisco de Assis Chateaubriand Bandeira de Melo built the first media empire in Brazil. He founded the Diários Associados newspaper chain in the 1930s, and in the 1950s established a media empire that included thirty-three newspapers, eighteen magazines, the Tupi Network (with twenty-five radio and eighteen television stations), and two news agencies. Chateaubriand exercised tremendous coercive power over businessmen, presidents, governors, and Congress. As a result of losing a political and judicial battle against the rise of the TV Globo Network, Tupi deteriorated after Chateaubriand's death in 1968. The military government finally confiscated and reallocated its concessions in 1981. The newspaper chain still exists but with less central coordination.

The second media empire and the most powerful one in 1997, Globo Organizations (Organizações Globo), began with the Rio newspaper O Globo , founded by Irineu Marinho in the 1920s. In 1931 the oldest son, Roberto Marinho, assumed control of the newspaper and still commanded the empire in 1997 at age eighty-five. Globo began radio transmissions in 1944, and TV Globo began in Rio de Janeiro in 1965, the latter under a controversial technical assistance agreement with the Time-Life Group that generated a CPI.

With the establishment of a microwave and later satellite national hookup by the Brazilian Telecommunications Company (Empresa Brasileira de Telecomunicações--Embratel) in 1970, the Globo network steadily advanced to cover all states. The network accounts for approximately 70 percent of television audience ratings and advertising billings in Brazil.

In 1993, 333 daily newspapers had a total circulation of about 2.5 million. Magazines sold 222 million copies in 1993 (1.47 per inhabitant), down 32 percent from 1991. Although per capita newspaper circulation and readership is very low in Brazil, research has shown that print media have considerable influence on politics because of very competent investigative reporting and exposés, influence among "opinion leaders," and influence on other media. Of the five national newspapers--O Estado de São Paulo , Folha de São Paulo , Gazeta Mercantil , O Globo , and Jornal do Brasil --members of Congress regarded Gazeta Mercantil as the least biased paper, according to a May 1995 survey.

Radio and especially television exert a tremendous direct influence over the voting behavior of the vast majority of Brazilians. When the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) completed a massive computerized voter registration before the 1986 elections, it classified 70 percent of those registered as "illiterate or semi-illiterate." Brazilian television has an insidious influence on these nearly 60 million voters. Political subplots are cleverly woven into television soap operas (telenovelas ) and situation comedies to jaundice public opinion about certain political groups and types of politicians. Biased news coverage of political campaigns is commonplace.

Data as of April 1997

BackgroundFollowing more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil peacefully gained its independence in 1822, maintaining a monarchical system of government until the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the subsequent proclamation of a republic by the military in 1889. Brazilian coffee exporters politically dominated the country until populist leader Getulio VARGAS rose to power in 1930. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil underwent more than half a century of populist and military government until 1985, when the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution and crime remain pressing problems.
LocationEastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean
Area(sq km)total: 8,514,877 sq km
land: 8,459,417 sq km
water: 55,460 sq km
note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo
Geographic coordinates10 00 S, 55 00 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 16,885 km
border countries: Argentina 1,261 km, Bolivia 3,423 km, Colombia 1,644 km, French Guiana 730 km, Guyana 1,606 km, Paraguay 1,365 km, Peru 2,995 km, Suriname 593 km, Uruguay 1,068 km, Venezuela 2,200 km

Coastline(km)7,491 km

Climatemostly tropical, but temperate in south

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico da Neblina 3,014 m
Natural resourcesbauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber
Land use(%)arable land: 6.93%
permanent crops: 0.89%
other: 92.18% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)29,200 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)8,233 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 59.3 cu km/yr (20%/18%/62%)
per capita: 318 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsrecurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south
Environment - current issuesdeforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; there is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities; wetland degradation; severe oil spills
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelargest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador
note: Brazil conducted a census in August 2000, which reported a population of 169,872,855; that figure was about 3.8% lower than projections by the US Census Bureau, and is close to the implied underenumeration of 4.6% for the 1991 census (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 26.7% (male 27,092,880/female 26,062,244)
15-64 years: 66.8% (male 65,804,108/female 67,047,725)
65 years and over: 6.4% (male 5,374,230/female 7,358,082) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 28.6 years
male: 27.8 years
female: 29.3 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.199% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)18.43 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)6.35 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-0.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 86% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 22.58 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 26.16 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 71.99 years
male: 68.43 years
female: 75.73 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.21 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Brazilian(s)
adjective: Brazilian
Ethnic groups(%)white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7% (2000 census)

Religions(%)Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4% (2000 census)
Languages(%)Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language); note - less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages

Country nameconventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil
conventional short form: Brazil
local long form: Republica Federativa do Brasil
local short form: Brasil
Government typefederal republic
Capitalname: Brasilia
geographic coordinates: 15 47 S, 47 55 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins third Sunday in October; ends third Sunday in February
note: Brazil is divided into four time zones, including one for the Fernando de Noronha Islands
Administrative divisions26 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal*, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins

Legal systembased on Roman codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffragevoluntary between 16 and 18 years of age and over 70; compulsory over 18 and under 70 years of age; note - military conscripts do not vote
Executive branchchief of state: President Luiz Inacio LULA da Silva (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR Gomes da Silva (since 1 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Luiz Inacio LULA da Silva (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR Gomes da Silva (since 1 January 2003)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held 1 October 2006 with runoff 29 October 2006 (next to be held 3 October 2010 and, if necessary, 31 October 2010)
election results: Luiz Inacio LULA da Silva (PT) reelected president - 60.83%, Geraldo ALCKMIN (PSDB) 39.17%

Legislative branchbicameral National Congress or Congresso Nacional consists of the Federal Senate or Senado Federal (81 seats; 3 members from each state and federal district elected according to the principle of majority to serve eight-year terms; one-third and two-thirds elected every four years, alternately) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara dos Deputados (513 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Federal Senate - last held 1 October 2006 for one-third of the Senate (next to be held in October 2010 for two-thirds of the Senate); Chamber of Deputies - last held 1 October 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: Federal Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PFL 6, PSDB 5, PMDB 4, PTB 3, PT 2, PDT 1, PSB 1, PL 1, PPS 1, PRTB 1, PP 1, PCdoB 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PMDB 89, PT 83, PFL 65, PSDB 65, PP 42, PSB 27, PDT 24, PL 23, PTB 22, PPS 21, PCdoB 13, PV 13, PSC 9, other 17; note - as of 1 January 2009, the composition of the entire legislature is as follows: Federal Senate - seats by party - PMDB 21, DEM (formerly PFL) 12, PSDB 13, PT 12, PTB 7, PDT 5, PR 4, PSB 2, PCdoB 1, PRB 1, PP 1, PSC 1, PSOL 1; Chamber of Deputies - seats by party - PMDB 95, PT 79, PSDB 59, DEM (formerly PFL) 53, PR 44, PP 40, PSB 29, PDT 25, PTB 19, PPS 14, PV 14, PCdoB 13, PSC 11, PMN 5, PRB 4, PHS 3, PSOL 3, PTC 1, PTdoB 1

Judicial branchSupreme Federal Tribunal or STF (11 ministers are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate); Higher Tribunal of Justice; Regional Federal Tribunals (judges are appointed for life); note - though appointed "for life," judges, like all federal employees, have a mandatory retirement age of 70

Political pressure groups and leadersLandless Workers' Movement or MST
other: labor unions and federations; large farmers' associations; religious groups including evangelical Christian churches and the Catholic Church
International organization participationAfDB (nonregional member), BIS, CAN (associate), CPLP, FAO, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, LAS (observer), Mercosur, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), PCA, RG, SICA (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag descriptiongreen with a large yellow diamond in the center bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and the Federal District) arranged in the same pattern as the night sky over Brazil; the globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress)

Economy - overviewCharacterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets. From 2003 to 2007, Brazil ran record trade surpluses and recorded its first current account surpluses since 1992. Productivity gains coupled with high commodity prices contributed to the surge in exports. Brazil improved its debt profile in 2006 by shifting its debt burden toward real denominated and domestically held instruments. LULA da Silva restated his commitment to fiscal responsibility by maintaining the country's primary surplus during the 2006 election. Following his second inauguration in October of that year, LULA da Silva announced a package of further economic reforms to reduce taxes and increase investment in infrastructure. Brazil's debt achieved investment grade status early in 2008, but the government's attempt to achieve strong growth while reducing the debt burden created inflationary pressures. For most of 2008, the Central Bank embarked on a restrictive monetary policy to stem these pressures. Since the onset of the global financial crisis in September, Brazil's currency and its stock market - Bovespa - have significantly lost value, -41% for Bovespa for the year ending 30 December 2008. Brazil incurred another current account deficit in 2008, as world demand and prices for commodities dropped in the second-half of the year.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$1.998 trillion (2008 est.)
$1.901 trillion (2007 est.)
$1.798 trillion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$1.573 trillion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)5.1% (2008 est.)
5.7% (2007 est.)
4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$10,200 (2008 est.)
$9,800 (2007 est.)
$9,400 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 28%
services: 65.3% (2008 est.)
Labor force93.65 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 20%
industry: 14%
services: 66% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)7.9% (2008 est.)
9.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)31% (2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 43% (2007)
Distribution of family income - Gini index56.7 (2005)
60.7 (1998)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)19% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: NA
expenditures: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)5.7% (2008 est.)
3.6% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$95.03 billion (31 December 2008)
$131.1 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$724.5 billion (31 December 2008)
$792.8 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$1.249 trillion (31 December 2008)
$1.377 trillion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$589.4 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.37 trillion (31 December 2007)
$711.1 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$191.9 million (2005)

Public debt(% of GDP)38.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
52% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productscoffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef
Industriestextiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment

Industrial production growth rate(%)4.3% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$28.19 billion (2008 est.)
$1.551 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$197.9 billion (2008 est.)
$160.6 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee, autos
Exports - partners(%)US 14.4%, China 12.4%, Argentina 8.4%, Netherlands 5%, Germany 4.5% (2008)
Imports$173.1 billion (2008 est.)
$120.6 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)machinery, electrical and transport equipment, chemical products, oil, automotive parts, electronics
Imports - partners(%)US 14.9%, China 11.6%, Argentina 7.9%, Germany 7% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$193.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$180.3 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$262.9 billion (31 December 2008)
$240.5 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$294 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$248.9 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$127.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$107.1 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesreals (BRL) per US dollar - 1.8644 (2008 est.), 1.85 (2007 est.), 2.1761 (2006), 2.4344 (2005), 2.9251 (2004)

Currency (code)real (BRL)

Telephones - main lines in use41.141 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular150.641 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: good working system; fixed-line connections have remained relatively stable in recent years and stand at about 20 per 100 persons; less expensive mobile cellular technology is a major driver in expanding telephone service to the low-income segment of the population with mobile-cellular telephone density reaching 80 per 100 persons
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 64 earth stations; mobile-cellular usage has more than tripled in the past 5 years
international: country code - 55; landing point for a number of submarine cables, including Atlantis 2, that provide direct links to South and Central America, the Caribbean, the US, Africa, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region east), connected by microwave relay system to Mercosur Brazilsat B3 satellite earth station (2008)
Internet country code.br
Internet users64.948 million (2008)
Airports4,000 (2009)
Pipelines(km)condensate/gas 62 km; gas 9,892 km; liquid petroleum gas 353 km; oil 4,517 km; refined products 4,465 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 1,751,868 km
paved: 96,353 km
unpaved: 1,655,515 km (2004)

Ports and terminalsGuaiba, Ilha Grande, Paranagua, Rio Grande, Santos, Sao Sebastiao, Tubarao
Military branchesBrazilian Army (Exercito Brasileiro, EB), Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil (MB), includes Naval Air and Marine Corps (Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais)), Brazilian Air Force (Forca Aerea Brasileira, FAB) (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)21-45 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 9 to 12 months; 17-45 years of age for voluntary service; an increasing percentage of the ranks are "long-service" volunteer professionals; women were allowed to serve in the armed forces beginning in early 1980s when the Brazilian Army became the first army in South America to accept women into career ranks; women serve in Navy and Air Force only in Women's Reserve Corps (2001)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 52,523,552
females age 16-49: 52,628,945 (2009 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 38,043,555
females age 16-49: 44,267,520 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 1,690,031
female: 1,630,851 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)2.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
Disputes - internationalunruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations; uncontested boundary dispute with Uruguay over Isla Brasilera at the confluence of the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada rivers, that form a tripoint with Argentina; the Itaipu Dam reservoir covers over a once contested section of Brazil-Paraguay boundary west of Guaira Falls on the Rio Parana; an accord placed the long-disputed Isla Suarez/Ilha de Guajara-Mirim, a fluvial island on the Rio Mamore, under Bolivian administration in 1958, but sovereignty remains in dispute

Electricity - production(kWh)438.8 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 8.3%
hydro: 82.7%
nuclear: 4.4%
other: 4.6% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)404.3 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)2.034 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)42.06 billion kWh; note - supplied by Paraguay (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)2.422 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)2.52 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)570,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)632,900 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)12.62 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)12.62 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)23.65 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)365 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.6% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS730,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths15,000 (2007 est.)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.6%
male: 88.4%
female: 88.8% (2004 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2005)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)4% of GDP (2004)

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