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Brazil - GOVERNMENT
BRAZIL'S POLITICAL EVOLUTION from monarchy to de-mocracy has not been smooth. Following independence in 1822, Brazil, unlike its South American neighbors, adopted constitutional monarchy as its form of government. The new nation retained a slave-based, plantation economy, and political participation remained very limited. After the coronation of Dom Pedro II (emperor, 1840-89) in 1840, a two-party system based on the British model--with conservative and liberal parties and frequent cabinet turnovers--evolved. Within this centralized unitary system, the emperor appointed the governors, using his prerogatives under the moderating power (poder moderador--see Glossary) granted by the 1824 constitution, and legislative elections were indirect. Brazil enjoyed considerable political stability until the 1880s, when the system proved incapable of accommodating military demands and pressure to emancipate slaves.
Brazil patterned the constitution of what is now called the Old Republic (1889-1930) on the United States constitution. However, colonelism (coronelismo --see Glossary), a political system based on economic power by large landowners in rural areas, persisted. Under the new constitution of February 24, 1891, the president, National Congress (Congresso Nacional; hereafter, Congress), state governors and legislatures, and local officials were chosen through direct elections.
Following World War I, when Brazil began to undergo rural-urban and agricultural-industrial transformations, its political system again was unable to cope with the demands of the urban middle classes and especially the working classes. The 1929 stock market crash further exacerbated the volatile situation, and elites from the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais staged a preemptive revolution and deposed the old regime. As a result of the revolts of 1930, Getúlio Dorneles Vargas became president (1930-1945, 1951- 54).
Violent clashes over conflicting ideologies of the left and the right erupted in the streets of Brazil's major cities in the 1930s. Vargas tried to strike a balance between the demands of labor and capital following Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's Carta di Lavoro (see Glossary) model established in the 1920s. The 1934 constitution incorporated this model and thus began the politics of corporatism (see Glossary) in Brazil. In close cooperation with the military, Vargas pushed for import-substitution industrialization (see Glossary) and a reduction of military forces under the command of state governments, in favor of the Brazilian Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Brasileiras). President Vargas closed Congress in 1937 and ruled as a dictator until 1945.
The 1945-64 period is known for its multiparty democratic politics, and four presidents were elected freely in 1945, 1950, 1955, and 1960. In the early 1960s, an explosive combination of slower economic growth, rising inflation, populism, and nationalism produced political instability and popular discontent. The major political parties lost their hegemony, and labor unions accumulated great political influence over the government of João Goulart (president, 1961-64).
The military seized power in April 1964 and began twenty-one years of rule. Under its model of "relative democracy," Congress remained open, but with greatly reduced powers. Regular elections were held for Congress, state assemblies, and local offices. However, presidential, gubernatorial, and some mayoral elections became indirect. Political parties were allowed to operate, but with two forced realignments. These were the replacement of the old multiparty system with a two-party system in 1965 and a system of moderate pluralism, with six (and later five) parties in 1980. The military regime employed massive repression from 1969 through 1974.
After the "economic miracle" period (1967-74), Brazil entered a "stagflation" phase concurrent with political liberalization. During the military period, Brazilian society had become 70 percent urban; the economy had become industrialized, and more manufactured goods than primary goods were exported; and about 55 percent of the population had registered to vote. Foreign policy oscillated between alignment with the United States and pragmatic independence. A transition to a civilian president took place in 1985. From 1985 to 1997, Brazil experienced four distinct political models: a return to the pre-1964 tradition of political bargaining, clientelism (see Glossary), and economic nationalism under José Sarney (president, 1985-90); neosocial liberalism with economic modernization under Fernando Collor de Mello (president, 1990-92); an erratic personal style of social nationalism under Itamar Franco (president, 1992-94); and a consensus-style social-democratic and neoliberal coalition under Fernando Henrique Cardoso (president, 1995- ).
Under heavy accusations of corruption, President Collor was impeached in 1992. His vice president, Franco, used a pragmatic policy of "muddling through," but in mid-1994 achieved great popularity with the Real Plan (for value of the real (R$)--see Glossary), a stabilization program authored by then Minister of Finance Cardoso. In the 1994 election, Cardoso and the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira--PSDB) expounded a social-democratic model of modernization, while Luis Inácio "Lula" da Silva of the Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores--PT) supported a reworked model of corporatist or syndicalist socialism. The Real Plan was instrumental in the election of Cardoso as president.
Cardoso was inaugurated as president on January 1, 1995. The transition to the new government was nearly perfect. Cardoso had won an outright victory in the first-round election. He had potentially strong support blocs in the Chamber of Deputies (Câmara dos Deputados) and Federal Senate (Senado Federal; hereafter, Senate). He had strong support from a majority of the newly elected governors, including those from the important states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, which elected governors from the president's own PSDB. Moreover, the December 1994 inflation rate was less than 1 percent; unemployment was low; and popular expectations were extremely high.
Perhaps the most important task of the Cardoso government in 1995 was to promote the reform of key sections of the 1988 constitution in order to reduce the role of the state in the economy, reform the federal bureaucracy, reorganize the social security system, rework federalist relationships, overhaul the complicated tax system, and effect electoral and party reforms to strengthen the representation of political parties. The new Cardoso government initiated constitutional reform (which requires a three-fifths majority of each house), but soon met with stiff congressional resistance. Because of the 1996 municipal elections and other political impediments, the other reforms--administrative, social security, and fiscal--were stalled in Congress, awaiting passage in 1997.
Many aspects of Brazil's political system may be explained by its political culture (see Glossary), the origins of which may be found in traditional rural society during the colonial and independence periods through 1930. This political culture evolved into three styles of politics. Under the more traditional style of politics, coronelismo, the local coronel (colonel), in alliance with other large farmers, controlled the votes of rural workers and their families. The local political chiefs in turn exchanged votes with politicians at the state level in return for political appointments and public works in their municipalities (municípios ).
As rural-urban migration increased after 1930, a transitional style of clientelistic politics emerged in medium-size and large-size cities. Under this system, neighborhood representatives of urban politicians would help recent migrants resolve their problems in exchange for votes. These representatives were usually from "clientele professions," such as medical doctors, dentists, and pharmacists.
The third style of mass politics involved a direct populist appeal to the voter by the politician, without formal intermediation by clientelism or domination by coronelismo . Research in the early 1990s revealed that in most cases voter decision making has been influenced by a mixture of the second and third styles, as well as by peer groups, opinion leaders, and television soap operas (telenovelas ).
Polling results since the early 1970s have revealed changing public opinion concerning the relative merits of military government versus democracy. For example, the proportion of Brazilians favorable to military government decreased from 79 percent in 1972 to 36 percent in 1990. Moreover, 70 percent of Brazilians agreed in 1990 that the government should not use troops against striking workers, as compared with only 7 percent in 1972. In a March 1995 poll conducted by the Datafolha agency, however, only 46 percent of Brazilians responded that "democracy is always preferred over dictatorship," as compared with 59 percent endorsing the same proposition in March 1993. The relatively low crime rates during the military period may be a factor in the shift in public opinion regarding democracy.
Brazil has a diversity of regional political cultures. Politics in the states of the Northeast (Nordeste) and North (Norte) are much more dependent on political benevolence from Brasília than are the states of the South (Sul) and Southeast (Sudeste). Because Brazil's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, suffered three civil wars and was involved frequently in political conflicts in the Río de la Plata areas, its population holds strong political loyalties. As a result, the Liberal Front Party (Partido da Frente Liberal--PFL) and the PSDB have very limited penetration in Rio Grande do Sul. Both parties are considered traitors: the PFL had splintered from the military regime's Democratic Social Party (Partido Democrático Social--PDS) in 1984, and the PSDB had broken from the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro--PMDB) in 1988.
In the Southeast state of Minas Gerais, politics is conducted in a very cautious, calculated manner. Politicians there are known for their ability to negotiate and cut bargains, and they have political "adversaries" rather than enemies. In the western frontier states, politics is constantly evolving, because of the continuous inward migration from other regions. Most politicians and voters are newcomers with no local political roots or traditions.
The Southeast states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have received large influxes of rural-urban and north-south migration since the 1950s. Because of higher levels of industrialization, per capita income, labor union membership, and education, the level of political consciousness is higher in these states than in those to the north and west.
As a result of intense rural-urban migration since 1960, urban voters have increased from fewer than 30 percent to more than 70 percent of the population in 1994. In 1960 only 22 percent (15.5 million) of Brazil's population was registered to vote; by 1994 more than 60 percent (nearly 95 million) of the population was enfranchised. The new migrants to urban areas quickly enhanced their political consciousness through television, increased schooling, and membership in new associations, such as labor unions.
Brazil has had eight constitutions since independence in 1822, beginning with the constitution of March 25, 1824. The republican constitution promulgated on February 24, 1891, was very similar to the United States constitution, containing separation of powers, checks and balances, a bicameral legislature, federalism, and direct elections. Concepts of corporatism and centralization from Italy and Portugal influenced the 1934 and 1937 constitutions. The return to representative democracy in 1945-46 produced a more balanced, liberal document, which maintained a considerable role for the state in the nation's economy. Military rule after 1964 forced an uneasy balance between "relative democracy" and the "safeguards of a national security state," reflected in the 1967 and 1969 constitutions.
After 1964 the government of Marshal Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco (president, 1964-67) issued four institutional acts and a series of complementary acts and decrees that severely compromised the 1946 constitution. Outgoing President Castelo Branco also convoked a lame-duck Congress in December 1966 and January 1967 to approve a new constitution drafted by his legal team. The 1967 constitution removed some important autocratic powers accorded the first military president.
This 1967 constitution soon became an anathema to the military, and the government of General Arthur da Costa e Silva (president, 1967-69) decreed the Fifth Institutional Act in December 1968, which allowed the regime to close Congress and begin a third wave of political purges (cassações ). Before his incapacitating stroke in August 1969, Costa e Silva and his vice president, Pedro Aleixo, had apparently begun drafting a new constitution. The fourth military president, General Ernesto Geisel (president, 1974-79), decreed the end of the Fifth Institutional Act in January 1979.
In 1985, the first year of José Sarney's term, Congress approved the convocation of the National Constituent Assembly (Assembléia Nacional Constituinte--ANC) to draft a new constitution. Elected on November 15, 1986, and seated in February 1987, the ANC adopted a "from scratch" participatory methodology. Using this methodology, the ANC divided itself into eight committees and twenty-four subcommittees to draft respective sections of the document, and it held public hearings on suggested content. After twenty months of deliberation and two rounds of voting, the ANC produced the 1988 "citizen constitution," which was promulgated on October 5, 1988.
The majority party, the PMDB, was not united during the ANC. After the drafting committee produced a "progressive" first draft, the PMDB's center and right wings joined conservatives from other parties to form the conservative coalition, the Big Center (Centrão), in December 1987, to alter the internal rules governing first-round voting. The Big Center prevailed on some crucial votes, such as maintaining the presidential system and making Sarney's presidential term five years rather than four. However, plagued with absenteeism it was defeated in other areas, such as the economic order.
The result is a mixed document with certain inconsistencies. Very liberal in the section dealing with basic human rights, the constitution also enhances "social rights," such as retirement after thirty-five years of service, job stability for public employees, and four months of paid maternity leave. It maintains a strong role for the state in the economy and distinguishes between foreign and national capital enterprises.
The ANC maintained the skewed representational plan favoring Brazil's underdeveloped regions. It also created three very small states--Amapá, Roraima, and Tocantins--with sixteen additional deputies and nine new senators, while granting São Paulo ten more deputies. The states have considerable autonomy in certain areas, such as maintaining state banks, but the federal constitution is very centralized regarding election of state officials, mandates, and government organization.
The ANC was able to pass many controversial articles using bland wording and a final reference to "future regulation by ordinary legislation." Some 300 areas of the new constitution were not automatically applicable and awaited such "regulation" in subsequent legislative sessions (1989-90, 1991-92, 1993-94, 1995-96, and 1997-98). Thus, the constitution is incomplete.
The first draft of the constitution was based on a mixed parliamentary presidential model similar to that of Portugal and France, but a crucial vote taken on March 22, 1988, reinstated the pure presidential model. The redrafting to incorporate this major change was incomplete, however, and several vestiges of the mixed parliamentary system remained. Most notable was the provisional measure (medida provisória --MP), a sort of temporary decree, which replaced the presidential decree law. Whereas the decree law took effect only after thirty days of inaction by the legislature, the MP takes effect immediately. Although the MP ceased to exist after thirty days of legislative inaction, the president could reissue it for successive thirty-day periods. This power was formidable, especially for a president not commanding an absolute majority in Congress. In early 1997, however, the Senate approved an amendment extending an MP's validity from thirty to ninety days but prohibiting additional extensions and the use of MPs to create ministries or other government entities.
The 1988 constitution required each state to rewrite its constitution within one year (during 1989) and each municipality to elaborate its Organic Law (during 1990), which defines how it operates. In 1991 the Federal District (Brasília) drafted its Organic Law, and the new states of Amapá, Roraima, and Tocantins drafted their new constitutions.
ANC members agreed that a very detailed constitution would require frequent revisions to keep pace with an ever-changing society and economy. Thus, Article 3 of the transitional provisions provided that after five years the Congress could be converted into a unicameral assembly for constitutional revision, deliberating by absolute majority instead of by the three-fifths margin in each house normally required for the amendment process. In addition, Article 2 of the transitional provisions called for a national plebiscite to decide on the form of government (republic or constitutional monarchy) and the system of government (presidential or parliamentary). A constitutional amendment formally setting the plebiscite for April 21, 1992, passed the Chamber of Deputies. However, in late 1991, during the second round of voting in the Senate, President Collor intervened to ensure defeat, fearing negative consequences for his already beleaguered government. The plebiscite was finally held on April 21, 1993, and the presidential republic was confirmed by a wide margin.
The revision of the constitution scheduled for late 1993 and early 1994 took place, but with meager results. Factors hindering constitutional revision included aftershocks from a congressional financial scandal ("Budgetgate") exposed by the Congressional Investigating Committee (Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito--CPI); the October 3, 1994, elections; strong pressure from nationalist and corporatist groups in defense of state enterprises, job stability, and national firms; and nonparticipatory methodology (see Glossary). As of May 1994, the only major change to the constitution was to shorten the presidential term from five to four years. The next attempt to thoroughly revise the 1988 constitution was begun in February 1995, but by the regular amendment process (three-fifths majority in both houses). Some members would like to use the 1998 elections to again convoke (as in 1987-88) a "constitutional revision Congress" in 1999, to do a revision by a unicameral, absolute majority (see Constitutional Reform, this ch.).
Brazil is a presidential and federative republic with considerable decentralized federalism. It is composed of twenty-six states and the Federal District (Brasília). In 1996 the states were subdivided into 5,581 municipalities (see fig. 1). The system is built on a directly elected president with a national constituency and a Congress elected by very parochial regional interests. Although the 1988 constitution reestablished many of the prerogatives of the bicameral Congress, the president retains considerable "imperial" powers. The federal judiciary enjoys considerable independence and autonomy. Under a system of checks and balances similar to the United States system, the three branches of government operate in harmony and with mutual respect. However, on rare occasions, one of the branches may challenge or reject the interference of the others.
Since the end of military rule in 1985, unionization, collective bargaining, and frequent strikes have become commonplace among federal employees in all three branches. The 1988 constitution grants job stability to all federal employees with more than five years of service, including those who had been hired without public examination. All new hiring must be by civil service examinations, and job stability comes after two years of probation. Mandatory retirement for all public servants, except for those elected to political office, is at age seventy.
In January 1995, the government employed (excluding state enterprises) 650,000 civilian (executive, 586,000; judicial 50,000; and legislative, 14,000) and 310,000 military personnel, totaling 960,000. A total of 723,000 were retired. State enterprises counted another 700,000 active employees.
Executive-branch reorganizations are frequent in Brazil, as each president seeks to impose his personal style and to incorporate political bargains struck. President Sarney expanded the cabinet to a record twenty-seven ministries. His successor, President Collor, embarked on a massive reorganization, reducing the number of ministries to twelve, abolishing many agencies, and firing some 80,000 federal employees. In a reorganization of his cabinet in early 1992, Collor was forced to dismember several ministries to create new positions in an effort to enhance political support. President Franco again expanded the cabinet to twenty-seven positions in October 1992.
In January 1995, President Cardoso installed a cabinet with twenty-two ministers and the ministerial-rank chief of the Civil Household of the Presidency and implemented several important changes (see fig. 12). The Cardoso government charged the new head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with creating a ministry of defense by the end of 1995 (a target that was not met). It also granted three ministerial positions--Planning, Civil Household, and Finance--superior status in terms of coordinating and monitoring the other nineteen. In addition, the government also created a Political Council (Conselho Político) to coordinate major political strategy and policy decisions. The council was composed of the presidents of the parties supporting the government.
Since João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo (president, 1979-85), most presidents have attempted to reduce and streamline the executive branch. President Sarney reorganized the Administrative Department of Public Service (Departamento Administrativo do Serviço Público--DASP), created in the 1930s, into the Federal Administration Secretariat (Secretaria de Administração Federal--SAF), which Presidents Collor and Franco revamped. By 1994 the SAF had achieved moderate success in consolidating the number of diverse public-service career structures and salary differentials. Congress passed a new executive-branch civil service law, the Single Judicial Regime (Regime Jurídico Único--RJU), in December 1990. In addition to the large number of state enterprises under government control, the executive branch also includes many autonomous agencies and financial institutions, such as the Bank of Brazil (Banco do Brasil) and the Federal Savings Bank (Caixa Econômico Federal).
A president must be a native Brazilian over age thirty-five. From 1945 to 1979, presidents had five-year terms. Following President Figueiredo's six-year term, the 1988 constitution again set the term at five years, but the 1994 constitutional revision reduced the mandate to four years. Although all of Brazil's constitutions since 1891 have prohibited immediate reelection of presidents, governors, and mayors, in June 1997 Congress approved an amendment allowing reelection. Thus, President Cardoso and the twenty-seven governors may stand for reelection in 1998, and the mayors elected in 1996 may be reelected in 2000.
The Brazilian president has the power to appoint some 48,000 confidence positions, of which only ambassadors, higher-court judges, the solicitor general, and Central Bank directors must have Senate approval. The president may also use the line-item veto, impound appropriated funds, issue decrees and provisional measures, initiate legislation, and enact laws.
Until 1964 the president and vice president were elected on separate tickets, which produced incompatible duos in 1950 and 1960. When Vargas committed suicide in 1954 and Jânio Quadros (president, January-August 1961) resigned in August 1961, the actions of their vice presidents produced severe institutional crises, leading to their respective ousters by military intervention. Since 1964 presidents and vice presidents have been elected on a single ticket, indirectly until 1989 and by direct popular vote in 1989 and 1994; a second round takes place if a majority is needed.
The return to civilian rule in 1985 occasioned important roles for vice presidents. President-elect Tancredo de Almeida Neves died before taking office, and his vice president, José Sarney, was allowed to complete his term. After President Collor was impeached in 1992, his vice president, Itamar Franco, completed his mandate. In the event that the president and vice president become incapacitated, the line of succession falls sequentially to the president of the Chamber of Deputies, the president of the Senate, and the president of the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal--STF). If less than half of the mandate has been completed, a supplementary election must be called within ninety days. If more than half the mandate has been completed, the Congress elects a new president and vice president within thirty days.
Brazil's national legislature is composed of the 513-member Chamber of Deputies and the eighty-one-member Senate. Congress has a basic four-year term, but senators serve for eight years. It meets from March through June, and from August through December. The states have unicameral legislatures elected simultaneously with Congress. The municipalities have city councils with four-year terms; municipal elections take place two years after state and national elections. Since 1930 Congress has been closed five times under authoritarian intervention: November 1930 to December 1933; November 1937 to February 1946; November 1966; December 1968 to October 1969; and for fifteen days in April 1977.
The 1988 constitution restored most of the powers and prerogatives that Congress had lost during the military regime. Congress enjoys administrative and fiscal autonomy, as well as full power over the budget. Under certain circumstances, it may issue legislative decrees not subject to presidential veto. An absolute majority secret vote in Congress is required to override a presidential veto. Congress also has a very important role in setting national, especially economic, policies. For example, it must approve all international agreements, including renegotiation of the foreign debt.
Legislators enjoy almost total parliamentary immunity, even for capital crimes, such as homicide. Even if the respective chamber lifts the legislator's immunity by an absolute majority secret vote, the legislator retains the privilege of being tried by the STF. In December 1994, nearly 100 lawsuits (courts and prosecutors) sought to lift the immunity of deputies and senators. However, the legislative esprit de corps is so strong that only rarely does a case come to the floor for a vote.
Since 1950 federal and state legislators have been elected at regular four-year intervals. Senators must be at least thirty-five years old. Each state has three seats, and one or two seats are elected alternately every four years to eight-year terms. Election is by simple majority. Since 1946 deputies have had four-year terms and must be at least twenty-one years old. The 1946 constitution granted states with small populations a minimum delegation of seven deputies; larger states counted one additional deputy for every 150,000 inhabitants up to 3 million, and after that one for every 250,000. The small states imposed this system to reverse the dominance of the two largest states (São Paulo and Minas Gerais) in the Chamber of Deputies during the Old Republic (1889-1930).
In 1970, at the height of the military oppression, the balance was tipped in favor of the larger, more developed, urbanized states. State delegations were calculated based on the size of the electorate, rather than on population. The minimum delegation was reduced to three, and most of the states in rural Brazil had their contingents cut in half. These changes reduced the Chamber of Deputies to 310 deputies. Ironically, this system helped the Brazilian Democratic Movement (Movimento Democrático Brasileiro--MDB) elect a 44 percent minority in 1974; thus, in 1978 the military returned to calculations based on population. The 1988 constitution gave Brazil's largest state, São Paulo, seventy deputies, instead of the 115 it should have to be proportionate to its population.
Election of federal and state deputies and city council members is by proportional representation. Brazil uses one of the least-used variants of proportional representation, the open-list system (the d'Hondt method--see Glossary). Thus, there is virtually no conflict or competition among parties in the elections. The conflict is concentrated within each party or coalition list, and most deputies use their own resources (which may be considerable, up to US$5 million for a federal deputy) for campaigning. Therefore, they owe no loyalty to their party, and change labels frequently after their election (see table 18, Appendix). This produces very weak parties and low cohesion in Congress. The Workers' Party is an exception to this rule.
Those holding office (elective or appointive) in the executive branch who desire to become candidates for elective office must resign six months before the election. This requirement precludes a minister, governor, mayor, or state enterprise director from using the powers and resources of the office to favor his or her election.
The Senate and Chamber of Deputies have legislative initiative. The Senate and Chamber of Deputies have six and sixteen standing committees, respectively, plus a joint budget committee. The 1988 constitution gives the committees the power to approve or kill legislation.
To override a committee decision and bring the bill to the floor of the appropriate house requires a petition signed by a certain number of members. Once one house passes a bill, the other deliberates on it. If a different version of the bill is passed, it returns to the original house for a final vote on the differences. The internal rules of each house allow members and party leaders certain prerogatives of obstruction.
Party leaders distribute party quotas on committees proportionate to the party's size. Committee presidencies are apportioned among the parties on an annual rotational basis; thus, there are no longstanding powerful committee chairs, as in the United States Congress. There are no subcommittees, and legislative committees rarely conduct public hearings.
When a matter is very serious, at least one-third of the respective house or the full Congress may petition to initiate a CPI (Congressional Investigating Committee). The CPIs have full subpoena and investigative powers, such as the disclosure of bank, income tax, telephone, credit card, and other records. A CPI produced the evidence used to impeach President Collor in 1992 and uncovered the Budgetgate scandal of 1993-94.
Normally, the Chamber of Deputies has around 50 percent turnover at each election. In 1990 this figure rose to nearly 60 percent; in 1994 it returned to 54 percent. In years when two-thirds of the Senate stands for election and gubernatorial seats are being contested, turnover can also be high in the upper house (63 percent in 1994).
Senators tend to be older and have more established political careers. Most have served as federal deputies, and many have been governors. Deputies usually tend to have served in city councils, state assemblies, and as state cabinet secretaries. In the first half of the 1990s, the proportion of deputies elected with no prior political experience increased. In 1995 the largest contingents in the Chamber of Deputies by occupation were businessmen, 32 percent; lawyers, 20 percent; medical doctors, 11 percent; engineers, 7 percent; labor leaders, 6 percent; teachers, 5 percent; economists, 5 percent; public servants, 3 percent; journalists, 3 percent; and administrators, 2 percent.
Each house elects its presiding officers (one president, two vice presidents, four administrative secretaries, and four alternates) for two-year terms. The 1987-88 ANC (National Constituent Assembly) prohibited these legislative officers from being immediately reelected, a prohibition initially imposed by the military to break up "internal oligarchies." Traditionally, the largest party in each house has the prerogative of electing the president, but the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) was in such disarray in 1993 and 1995 that the Liberal Front Party (Partido da Frente Liberal--PFL), the second largest party, was able to build a coalition that elected the Chamber of Deputies president. By negotiation the PMDB returned to the Chamber presidency for the 1997-98 term, and the PFL won the Senate presidency for the first time since 1985. The presiding officers comprise an all-powerful Executive Board, which makes nearly all important political, administrative, procedural, and agenda-setting decisions. The Senate president is also the president of the Congress and presides over joint sessions.
During the 1987-88 ANC, an informal group called the College of Party Leaders developed. It became an important leadership group and was the forum for decisive bargaining on crucial articles. This group has gradually acquired more power (especially agenda-setting) to the detriment of the formally elected officers, especially in the Chamber of Deputies.
The political role of Congress began to increase even before the demise of the military regime. In 1979 President Figueiredo took office without the extraordinary powers of the Fifth Institutional Act. In the 1982 elections, the government party lost its absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies (see table 19, Appendix), and in 1983 the Chamber of Deputies defeated Figueiredo's initial decree laws, including one on social security.
Maximum political power accrued to Congress in 1985, when the vice president-elect, José Sarney (PMDB-Maranhão), assumed the presidency under less than auspicious circumstances. From March 1985 through February 1986, Chamber of Deputies President Ulysses Guimarães (PMDB-São Paulo) and PMDB Senate floor leader Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PMDB-São Paulo) more or less ruled with Sarney as informal "prime ministers." Sarney, however, recovered considerable presidential powers as a result of his cruzado (for value of the cruzado--see Glossary) economic stabilization plan, which began on March 1, 1986. Congress again assumed maximum power in 1992, when Brazil became the first nation in the world to constitutionally impeach a sitting, directly elected president.
The National Accounts Court (Tribunal de Contas da União--TCU) is the external control and oversight arm of Congress. The TCU conducts inspections, usually following newspaper exposés or requests from members of Congress, and audits the executive branch's annual accounts. Until the 1988 constitution, the president, with Senate approval, appointed members to the TCU. Retiring or defeated members of Congress or friends of the president in need of a sinecure usually filled the positions. With rare exceptions, TCU members have represented political factions and groups, and their main role is to protect allies who have been charged with corruption.
Under the 1988 constitution, recruitment criteria for the TCU became more specific. The president, with Senate approval, appoints three of the nine members. Two of the presidential appointees must be auditors or federal prosecutors from the TCU and must be chosen from a three-name list prepared by the TCU. Congress chooses the remaining six members. Each state has a State Accounts Court (Tribunal de Contas dos Estados--TCE), but only the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have a Municipal Accounts Court (Tribunal de Contas Municipais--TCM). The accounts of all other municipalities are reviewed by their respective TCE.
The judicial branch is composed of federal, state, and municipal courts. By 1995 small-claims courts augmented some municipal courts. Only appointments to the superior courts are political and therefore subject to approval by the legislature. The minimum and maximum ages for appointment to the superior courts are thirty-five and sixty-five; mandatory retirement is at age seventy. These federal courts have no chief justice or judge. The two-year presidency of each court is by rotation and is based on respecting seniority.
The 1988 constitution produced five significant modifications in Brazil's judicial system. First, it converted the old Federal Court of Appeals (Tribunal Federal de Recursos--TFR) into the Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça--STJ). Second, it created an intermediate-level Regional Federal Court (Tribunal Regional Federal--TRF) system. Third, the federal general prosecutor was given a two-year renewable term, subject to confirmation by the Senate, without the possibility of removal by the president. Fourth, the STF (Federal Supreme Court) can issue a warrant of injunction (mandado de injunção ) to ensure rights guaranteed by the constitution but not regulated by ordinary legislation. And fifth, the STF can decide on matters of constitutionality without waiting for appeals to come through the federal courts.
The judiciary came under criticism during the Collor and Franco administrations. The STF was harshly criticized during the Collor impeachment investigation and subsequent trials, particularly for the slow pace of the trials. In late 1993, former president Collor's appeal against the Senate's decision to strip his political rights for eight years ended in a four-four tie in the STF. Three judges had disqualified themselves: Collor's former foreign minister, Collor's first cousin, and the STF president who had presided over the Senate impeachment trial. Instead of throwing the case out after the tie vote, the STF called three substitute judges from the STJ, who broke the tie against Collor.
In addition, executive-branch public employees (especially in the armed forces) became discontented with the STF's utter disregard for parity salary scales among the three branches and with government austerity targets. To address these problems and to streamline the judicial process, the 1993-94 attempt at constitutional revision produced numerous proposals for reforming the judicial branch, including an external control body, the Penal Code (1941), and the 1916 Civil Code (revised in 1973). Significant reforms have yet to be enacted, however. The need for judicial reform in general is widely recognized because the current system is inefficient, with backlogs of cases and shortages of judges. Cases are frequently dismissed because they are too old. Lawyers contribute to backlogs by dragging out cases as long as possible because they are paid based on the amount of time they spend on a case. In addition, STF jurisprudence is not followed by lower courts. Some corrupt judges delay certain cases so that they can be dismissed. Vacancies on the bench are difficult to fill because of low pay and highly competitive examinations that often eliminate 90 percent of applicants.
Created in October 1890, the STF has eleven members appointed by the president with Senate approval. The STF decides conflicts between the executive and legislative branches, disputes among states, and disputes between the federal government and states. In addition, it rules on disputes involving foreign governments and extradition. The STF issues decisions regarding the constitutionality of laws, acts, and procedures of the executive and legislative branches, warrants of injunction, and writs of habeas corpus. Further, it presents three-name lists for certain judicial-branch nominations, and conducts trials of the president, cabinet ministers, and congressional and judiciary members. The president of the STF is third in the line of presidential succession and would preside over an impeachment trial held by the Senate.
The TFR (Federal Court of Appeals) was created under the 1946 constitution. It initially had thirteen members but expanded to twenty-seven members in 1979. In 1988 the TFR became the thirty-three-member STJ (Superior Court of Justice). As the last court of appeals for nonconstitutional questions, the STJ reviews decisions of the TRFs (Regional Federal Courts) and tries governors and federal judges. The president appoints its members with Senate approval on rotation. One-third are picked from the ranks of TRF judges; one-third from the ranks of State Supreme Court judges; and one-third from the ranks of state and federal public prosecutors.
The 1988 constitution created five TRFs--Recife, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Porto Alegre. Each TRF must have at least six judges, appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. One-fifth must be from among lawyers or public prosecutors with at least ten years of professional experience. Members must be at least thirty years of age but no older than sixty-five.
Brazil's judicial system has a series of special courts, in addition to the regular civil court system, covering the areas of military, labor, and election affairs. The Superior Military Court (Superior Tribunal Militar--STM), created in 1808 by João VI (king of Portugal, 1816-26), is the oldest superior court in Brazil. It is composed of fifteen judges appointed by the president with Senate approval. Three members must have the rank of admiral in the Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil), three must be general officers of the Brazilian Air Force (Fôrça Aérea Brasileira--FAB), four must be army generals, and five must be civilians. The latter must be over age thirty and under age sixty-five. Two of the civilians are alternately chosen from among military justice auditors and military court prosecutors; three are lawyers with noted judicial knowledge and ten years of professional experience.
The STM has jurisdiction over crimes committed by members of the armed forces. It was also used extensively to try civilians accused of crimes against "national security" during the military regime. States also have military courts to try cases involving state Military Police (Polícia Militar--PM). During the constitutional revision process of 1995, proposals were made to close down such courts at the state level. These proposals were renewed in 1997 after a series of revolts and strikes by Military Police in several states.
The government of Getúlio Vargas created the Superior Electoral Court (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral--TSE) in 1932 in an effort to end election fraud and manipulation. The TSE has jurisdiction over all aspects of elections and regulates the functioning of political parties. Its powers include supervising party conventions and internal elections; granting or canceling registration of parties; registering candidates and certifying those elected; regulating and supervising party access to free television and radio time during an election; and registering voters. All states have a Regional Electoral Court (Tribunal Regional Eleitoral--TRE); larger cities have municipal election judges, and smaller towns have local election boards.
The TSE has seven members, each with a two-year mandate. By secret ballot, the STF chooses three of its members to sit on the TSE, and the STJ chooses two of its members. The president appoints, with Senate approval, two lawyers from among a six-name list submitted by the STF. The TSE elects its president and vice president from among the members of the STF.
Since 1950 the TSE has made important decisions affecting Brazil's political system. In 1950 and 1955, the TSE decided in favor of the elections of presidents Getúlio Vargas (1951-54) and Juscelino Kubitschek (1956-61) by simple rather than by absolute majorities. In 1980 the TSE denied the "magic" label of the Brazilian Labor Party (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro--PTB) to the Leonel de Moura Brizola faction, which was then forced to create the Democratic Labor Party (Partido Democrático Trabalhista--PDT). In 1994 the TSE prohibited noncandidates from appearing on the "free TV election hour," thus barring former President Collor from participating in the television campaign of the National Reconstruction Party (Partido da Reconstrução Nacional--PRN).
The system of labor courts was created by Getúlio Vargas in the 1930s to arbitrate labor-management disputes, which previously had been settled by police action. The 1946 constitution created the Superior Labor Court (Tribunal Superior do Trabalho--TST). Each state has a Regional Labor Court (Tribunal Regional do Trabalho--TRT), although São Paulo State has two TRTs, and each municipality has a set of labor conciliation boards. The labor court system has jurisdiction over all labor-related questions. It registers labor contracts, arbitrates collective and individual labor disputes, recognizes official union organizations, resolves salary questions, and decides the legality of strikes.
The president appoints, with Senate approval, twenty-seven judges to the TST. Seventeen of the judges--eleven career labor judges, three labor lawyers, and three labor court prosecutors--receive lifetime terms (to age seventy). Ten temporary judges are appointed from lists evenly divided between the confederations of labor and management.
The Public Ministry is an important independent body in Brazil's judicial system. Its principal component, the Office of the Solicitor General of the Republic (Procuradoria Geral da República--PGR), is composed of several public prosecutors selected by public examination. The PGR's headquarters is in Brasília, and it has branches in every state. The PGR is charged with prosecuting those accused of federal crimes, those accused of offending the president and his ministers, and all federal officials and employees accused of crimes. Before 1988 the president could appoint and dismiss the solicitor general at will. Under the 1988 constitution, the solicitor general has a fixed, renewable two-year term and is appointed by the president, with Senate approval, among the career prosecutors.
The Office of the Federal Attorney General (Advocacia- Geral da União--AGU), which was separated from the PGR by the 1988 constitution, defends the federal government against lawsuits and provides legal counsel to the executive branch. The AGU was organized and staffed under a provisional measure (MP) issued by President Franco.
Each state has a State Supreme Court (Tribunal de Justiça--TJ). The governor, with approval by the State Assembly (Assembléia do Estado), appoints the judges to the court. This court has the prerogative of appointing special state circuit judges to deal with agrarian problems. In addition, it is responsible for organizing and supervising the lower state courts. Each state is divided into district courts (comarcas ).
Since independence Brazil has oscillated between centralization and state autonomy. During the empire (1822-89), Brazil had a centralized constitutional monarchy and little state autonomy. The emperor exercised the moderating power by appointing senators for life, presiding over a Council of State, removing and transferring police and judicial officials at will, and appointing provincial governors.
The Old Republic was established in 1889 in part because of state demands for greater autonomy. Until 1930 the larger and more powerful states enjoyed great autonomy under a federal system patterned after the United States model, but the smaller and poorer states constantly suffered interventions by the central government. "Young Turk" lieutenants (tenentes ) rebelled against this system of state oligarchies in the 1920s and were prominent in the initial modernization strategies after the 1930 revolution. From 1930 to 1945, the national government centralized control over state and local governments by appointing governors, who in turn appointed all mayors. Except for the brief period of 1933-37, the national government closed legislatures at all levels. The 1946 constitution reestablished a more balanced federalism, but maintained central control over industrial, financial, labor, election, and development policies. In October 1965, the military regime began curtailing the autonomy of the states once again. From 1966 through 1978, the central government appointed state governors and mayors of state capitals and some 170 designated selected cities deemed vital to "national security." Active-duty army colonels were appointed as security chiefs in each state. As part of its "liberalizing opening," the military regime allowed direct elections for governors in 1982. In November 1985, President Sarney and Congress allowed direct elections for mayors of state capitals and selected cities deemed vital to "national security."
Until 1994 state governors and vice governors were elected to one four-year term, taking office on January 1 following their election. In 1998 those elected in 1994 may seek one consecutive second term. State deputies are also elected to four-year terms but are not restricted to one term. Governors have state cabinets, and their executive branch is organized in a manner similar to the federal executive branch. Likewise, state assemblies organize their legislative process like that of Congress. After 1988 state assemblies lost their salary autonomy; state deputies may receive up to 75 percent of the salary of a federal deputy.
State governments are responsible for maintaining state highway systems, low-cost housing programs, public infrastructure, telephone companies, and transit police. Both state and municipal governments are responsible for public primary and secondary schools and public hospitals. Municipal governments are also responsible for water, sewerage, and garbage services. State tax revenues are concentrated in sales taxes. State governments are allowed to operate state financial institutions, most of which are a constant problem for the Central Bank because they run heavy deficits, especially in election years. In 1995 the Central Bank intervened in some of the state banks with the worst deficits (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Alagoas, and Mato Grosso) and sought to privatize others. In October 1996, Brazil had 5,581 municipalities, of which more than 15 percent had populations under 5,000. The municipal taxing authority is concentrated on property and service taxes.
Mayors and vice mayors must be at least twenty-one years of age and are elected to one four-year term. Reelection is now permitted as of the year 2000. City council members must be at least eighteen years of age and are elected to renewable four-year terms under a proportional representation system. From 1950 through 1970, municipal elections coincided with general federal and state elections. Local officials elected in 1970 were given two-year terms, so as to set local elections two years out of phase with general elections (the next local elections were held in 1972 and 1976). However, local officials elected in 1976 were given six-year terms to make municipal elections again coincide with general elections in 1982, but in turn the latter also got six-year terms to make local elections out of phase again (in 1988, 1992, and 1996).
Shortly after Brazil's independence, the first political groups emerged with either pro-Brazilian or pro-Portuguese factions. During the second empire period (1831-89), the Conservative and Liberal parties alternated in power, and an embryonic Republican Party appeared in 1870. During the Old Republic (1889-1930), sections of the Republican Party in the larger states held political power. During the brief opening of representative politics between 1934 and 1937, attempts were made to organize national parties.
After 1945, when parties and elections again were permitted, local factions in the interior that had been allied with the Vargas government since 1930 organized the Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrático--PSD); the pro-Vargas groups in urban areas organized the PTB (Brazilian Labor Party); and all those opposed to Vargas initially formed the UDN (National Democratic Union). The PSD elected the president and an absolute majority to the 1946 Constituent Assembly. The Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro--PCB), led by Luis Carlos Prestes, operated freely from 1945 through 1947, but the STF (Federal Supreme Court) canceled its registry in early 1948.
By 1960 Congress had thirteen parties. Confronted with adverse results in the direct gubernatorial elections of October 1965, President Castelo Branco (1964-67) decreed the end of this multiparty system and imposed a two-party system. His objective was to organize a strong majority support party and a loyal opposition. Thus, the National Renewal Alliance (Aliança Renovadora Nacional--Arena) and the MDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement) were born.
About 90 percent of the UDN, 50 percent of the PSD, and 15 percent of the PTB joined Arena. Although it held an absolute majority in Congress until its demise in 1979, Arena was plagued with regional and former party factionalism. The MDB suffered from ideological factionalism regarding the military government; the factions divided among the authentics (those most strongly opposed to the military government), the neo-authentics, and the moderates.
As a result of the voting trends of the 1974, 1976, and 1978 elections, which channeled protest votes to the MDB, General Golbery do Couto e Silva, the architect of much of the regime's political evolution from 1964 until his retirement in August 1981, called for a party realignment to achieve broader political maneuvering space for the government. A survey conducted among members of Congress in March 1979 showed that nearly three-fourths of Arena and two-thirds of the MDB desired a multiparty system. In December 1979, Congress approved government-sponsored legislation abolishing Arena and the MDB and permitting moderate party pluralism.
Initially, the realignment strategy was successful. The MDB became the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) but with half its 1979 size. Arena became the PDS (Democratic Social Party), and retained its majority position. MDB moderates and Arena liberals organized the government auxiliary Popular Party (Partido Popular--PP) led by Senator Tancredo Neves and Deputy Magalhães Pinto. Former deputy Ivette Vargas and former governor Leonel Brizola resurrected the PTB; and the new, more militant labor unions organized the Workers' Party.
In May 1980, this pluralism became less moderate when, in a highly political decision, the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) decided to give the PTB label to Ivette Vargas instead of Brizola, who had much broader organizational support within the party. Undaunted, Brizola immediately organized the PDT (Democratic Labor Party) and, in 1982, was elected governor of Rio de Janeiro, with twenty-three deputies versus Ivette Vargas's thirteen (see table 19, Appendix). Because of the harsh 1982 election rules imposed by the Figueiredo government, the Popular Party decided to dissolve itself and reincorporate with the PMDB, which greatly strengthened the latter in many states, especially in Minas Gerais and Paraná.
In 1985 Congress passed legislation easing the requirements for organizing new parties; thus, the ANC (National Constituent Assembly) seated eleven parties in 1987, nineteen in 1991, and eighteen in 1995. With the exception of the Workers' Party, traditionally all Brazilian political parties have been organized from the top down, with a compact group of professional politicians making major decisions. The party system suffered considerable fragmentation during the late 1980s and early 1990s, especially because of an exodus from the largest parties--PMDB and PFL (Liberal Front Party)--after 1988, similar to the factionalization in the 1950s and early 1960s. In 1987 the five largest parties accounted for 92.8 percent of the Chamber of Deputies. In 1989 this figure fell to 70.1 percent, and in 1992 it fell further to 61.4 percent. However, after the 1994 elections a "reconcentration" occurred, and by 1997 the five largest parties accounted for 83.6 percent.
In addition to strong internal cleavages, parties differ regionally. The Popular Party was almost totally concentrated in Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. Initially, Brizola's PDT was concentrated in Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul--the two states that had elected him in the 1947-64 period--but later expanded to more states and elected three governors in 1990 (see table 20, Appendix). The Workers' Party remains concentrated in São Paulo but has expanded to other states in the South and North. The PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) is highly concentrated in Ceará and São Paulo. The PFL has always been concentrated in the Northeast. In Rio Grande do Sul, the PFL and the PSDB have very limited penetration (see Political Culture, this ch.).
In 1995 eight political parties, constituting 89.7 percent of the total membership of the Chamber of Deputies, were considered major parties. Each held more than 5 percent of the Chamber. In 1997 the seven significant parties totaled 92.6 percent.Progressive Renewal Party
The Progressive Renewal Party (Partido Progressista Renovador--PPR) was organized by the fusion of the PDS (Democratic Social Party) and the Christian Democratic Party (Partido Democrático Cristão--PDC) in April 1993. After the Workers' Party, the PPR has the most consistent ideology. It generally supports the interests of business and rural landlords. It has a radical position in favor of privatization, economic modernization, and reduction of the state's role in the economy. In 1994 the PPR elected three governors, two senators, and fifty-three federal deputies. The PPR contributed one minister (health) to Cardoso's cabinet, but the party does not automatically support government positions in Congress. In 1995 Paulo Maluf remained the main leader of the PPR, which attempted to form a bloc with the Progressive Party. In mid-September 1995, Maluf merged the PPR with the Progressive Party to form the Brazilian Progressive Party (Partido Progressista Brasileiro--PPB).Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
The Brazilian Democratic Movement (Movimento Democrático Brasileiro--MDB), the political opposition to the military regime, began mobilizing national support in the late 1970s. Like the PTB (Brazilian Labor Party) in the early 1960s, the MDB was on the verge of becoming a mass political party when Congress dissolved it in 1979. The party president, Deputy Ulysses Guimarães, convinced the party to "add a P to the MDB" to preserve the hard-fought opposition image.
The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro--PMDB) won nine governorships in 1982 and elected Tancredo Neves in the electoral college of January 1985 in alliance with the PFL. The centrist PMDB advanced to become the "catch-all, rainbow" party, electing a majority to the ANC (National Constituent Assembly), and all but one governor in 1986. Overloaded with joiners (many of whom migrated from the Arena/PDS), the PMDB acquired a more conservative profile, provided a base for the Big Center in the ANC, and projected an image of close collaboration with the Sarney government. These tendencies provoked the exodus of the more progressive members, such as the PSDB, in 1988. The party was less successful in the congressional and gubernatorial elections in 1988 and 1990, but made a slight comeback in the 1992 municipal elections.
In 1994 the PMDB's presidential candidate, former governor Orestes Quêrcia, placed fourth. Nevertheless, the PMDB managed to elect nine governors and remained the largest party in Congress, electing fourteen senators and 107 federal deputies. The PMDB had two important ministries (transport and justice), plus the Secretariat of Regional Development (now subordinate to the Ministry of Planning) in the Cardoso government. With the defeat of Quêrcia and the loss of São Paulo State, the party has no coherent national leadership, and the support of its sizable congressional delegation is uncertain. In 1997 the PMDB became the second largest party in Congress, losing its first-rank position to the PFL.Liberal Front Party
A manifesto signed by three governors, ten senators, and sixty federal deputies in December 1984 officially launched the center-right Liberal Front Party (Partido da Frente Liberal--PFL). In the January 15, 1985, electoral college, the PMDB-Liberal Front-PDS ticket of Tancredo Neves and José Sarney received the votes of 102 federal deputies, fifteen senators, and fifty-one delegates still nominally affiliated with the PDS. In 1985 the PFL became the second largest party in Congress. It received a mere 8.8 percent of the votes in the municipal elections of November 1985, but when Sarney was able to reform the cabinet inherited from Tancredo Neves in February 1986, the PFL received six ministries. In 1992 the PFL elected nearly 1,000 mayors, second only to the PMDB.
Although the PFL is noted for its neoliberal ideology, it is always predisposed to pragmatic bargaining, such as in 1994, when it abstained from running its own presidential candidate and joined with the PSDB and PTB. Although it elected only two governors, it remained the second largest party in Congress, electing eleven senators and eighty-nine federal deputies (57 percent from the Northeast), in addition to the vice president. In Congress the PFL is known to have the most articulate and cohesive delegation, on a par with the Workers' Party. As a Cardoso coalition partner, the PFL received three ministries in 1995. It became the first-ranked party in 1997.Brazilian Labor Party
The Brazilian Labor Party (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro--PTB), a pre-1964 leftist party, was resurrected as center-rightist in 1980. Two factions--one led by Leonel Brizola and the other led by Ivette Vargas--vied for leadership of the PTB. Although twenty of the twenty-three federal deputies who originally joined the PTB were brizolistas , Ivette Vargas was allied with General Golbery do Couto e Silva, chief of Ernesto Geisel's Civil Household of the Presidency, who pressured the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) to give the label to Vargas's pro-government faction in May 1980.
The PTB elected thirteen deputies in 1982 and became the junior member in a coalition with the PDS to give the latter a majority in the Chamber of Deputies. In 1986 the PTB elected seventeen federal deputies, and in 1990 it elected two governors, four senators, and thirty-eight federal deputies. The party became a convenient election vehicle for politicians without space in the larger parties.
In 1994 the PTB formed a coalition with the PFL and PSDB in support of Cardoso's candidacy. In that election, the PTB elected one governor, three senators, and thirty-one federal deputies--a slightly worse record than in 1990. In 1995 the PTB remained loyal to its coalition with the PSDB and PFL in support of the Cardoso government and occupied two ministries.Democratic Labor Party
Brizola founded the social democratic-oriented Democratic Labor Party (Partido Democrático Trabalhista--PDT) in May 1980 after losing the PTB label to Ivette Vargas. Over the ensuing fifteen years, many PDT members migrated to other parties. In 1990 the PDT elected three governors (Brizola included), five senators, and forty-seven federal deputies and became the third largest party in Congress. In 1994 Brizola placed fifth for president and was defeated by Enéas Carneiro in Rio de Janeiro, thus ending his forty-seven-year political career. The PDT elected only two governors, four senators, and thirty-three federal deputies that year.
Despite his massive defeat in 1994, Brizola refused to relinquish personal control of the party and tried to impose a systematic opposition posture on the congressional delegation, although the two PDT governors favored a more flexible position vis-à-vis the Cardoso government. Both the very dynamic governor of Paraná, Jaime Lerner, and Dante de Oliveira, governor of Mato Grosso, left the PDT in 1997.Workers' Party
The Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores--PT), the country's first independent labor party, is a unique party in Brazil. Organized externally (outside Congress) from the grassroots up and based on the new trade unionism in São Paulo in 1979, the Workers' Party initially did not want any professional politicians or students in its ranks. However, to have a voice in Congress it accepted five deputies and one senator into its ranks in early 1980. Since then the Workers' Party has grown steadily, doubling its Chamber of Deputies delegation in 1982, 1986, and 1990, while tripling the number of its state deputies at each election, except in 1994. It has also won mayorships in several cities, including São Paulo (1988) (see Elections, 1988-96, this ch.).
The Workers' Party is divided into six factions along a left-right continuum. The right consists of Radical Democracy (Democracia Radical), which has a social-democratic orientation. The center consists of Unity and Struggle (Unidade e Luta), Catholic militants, and members of the right wing of Lula da Silva's former Articulation (Articulação) faction. The left consists of Option of the Left (Opção de Esquerda), which is divided into two subgroups--Hour of Truth (Hora da Verdade), the dissident left wing of the former Articulation group, former Stalinists, and Castroites; and Socialist Democracy (Democracia Socialista), the largest Trotskyite group, which existed before the Workers' Party. The extreme left consists of Workers' Party in the Struggle (Na Luta PT), which is divided into two subgroups--Socialist Force (Força Socialista), whose members are former militants from extreme left guerrilla groups from the 1960s: the People's Electoral Movement (Movimento Eleitoral do Povo--MEP) and Popular Action (Ação Popular--AP); and The Work (O Trabalho), consisting of Trotskyites from two student movements of the 1970s--Freedom (Liberdade) and Struggle (Luta).
Until 1993 Lula's moderate Articulation group had a large absolute majority in the Workers' Party. This group conducted pragmatic coalition-building in the 1990 and 1992 elections, which resulted in the election of increasing numbers of deputies and city council members. However, in 1993 the extreme left and left elected an absolute majority (53 percent) of the national party directorate, took control, and imposed stricter criteria for coalition-building at the state level. In 1995 and 1997, the Articulation faction was again elected to the party presidency.Brazilian Social Democracy Party
A center-left group of the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) organized the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira--PSDB) in June 1988. Many of these PMDB members were associated with the Progressive Unity Movement (Movimento de Unidade Progressista--MUP). They had become discontented with the rainbow party, with the PMDB's participation in the conservative Big Center during the National Constituent Assembly, and especially with the politics of President Sarney. The principal leaders of the new party were from São Paulo, including Senator Cardoso (PMDB floor leader in the Senate).
The PSDB adopted a modernizing, social-democratic program and favored a parliamentary system of government. In 1988 it became the third largest delegation in Congress, although it elected only eighteen mayors that year (including Belo Horizonte).
The PSDB occupied three ministries in the Franco cabinet, including Senator Cardoso at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In May 1993, Cardoso moved to the Ministry of Finance, where he launched the Real Plan for economic stabilization in March 1994. With other major parties already engaged in different presidential alliances, the PSDB opted for a coalition with the more conservative PFL and PTB in the 1994 elections. The adoption of the new Real currency and the resulting near-zero inflation greatly boosted Cardoso's presidential candidacy in July and August and guaranteed his first-round victory with a margin of 54.3 percent on October 3. The PSDB also elected six governors (including Ceará, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro), nine senators, and sixty-two deputies, a much better performance than in 1990 (see General Elections, 1994, this ch). The Social Democrats occupied six ministries, including the powerful ministries of Planning, Finance, and Civil Household of the Presidency, in the Cardoso government.Progressive Party
The Progressive Party (Partido Progressista--PP) grew out of the PTR (Workers' Renewal Party). In 1990 the PTR and the Social Workers' Party (Partido Social Trabalhista--PST) had elected just two federal deputies each. The new Progressive Party had thirty-seven deputies in 1993, and by 1994 had grown to forty-five, the fifth largest delegation in the Chamber of Deputies. In 1995 the Progressive Party became leaderless, with no clear political strategy. Thus, it merged with the PPR (Progressive Renewal Party) to form the PPB (Brazilian Progressive Party).
In 1995 eleven smaller parties were represented in Congress, of which five are noteworthy.Liberal Party
Deputy Alvaro Valle (PDS-Rio de Janeiro) founded the center-right Liberal Party (Partido Liberal--PL) in 1985. Dubbed the businessman's Workers' Party, the Liberal Party rapidly supplanted the Liberal Front Party (Partido da Frente Liberal--PFL) in São Paulo. In the elections of November 15, 1986, the Liberal Party secured seven seats in the Chamber of Deputies and one in the Senate. It received 4.8 percent of the national vote in 1990 and elected fifteen deputies. On taking their seats in February 1991, the new Liberal Party deputies joined the opposition bloc against Collor. In 1994 the Liberal Party elected no governors, one senator, and thirteen deputies.Party of National Reconstruction
Created in February 1989 by a takeover of the Youth Party as an election vehicle for Collor's candidacy, the conservative Party of National Reconstruction (Partido da Reconstrução Nacional--PRN) immediately received twenty deputies and two senators. After Collor's election, the party increased its congressional delegation in 1990, but had a dismal performance in the October 3 elections that year: forty deputies and only 7 percent of the vote, and no governors. In 1994 the party, reduced to four deputies and four senators, elected one federal and two state deputies.Brazilian Socialist Party
Resurrected in 1986 from the pre-1964 Socialist Party, the left-wing Brazilian Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro--PSB) elected seven representatives to the ANC (National Constituent Assembly). It joined the Brazilian Popular Front (Frente Brasil Popular--FBP) coalition in 1989 in support of Lula, and again in 1994. With 2.3 percent of the national vote in 1990, the PSB elected eleven deputies, including twice governor of Pernambuco Miguel Arraes, PSB president. The PSB, which has a more pragmatic socialism than the Workers' Party, contributed two ministers to Franco's cabinet. In 1994 the PSB elected two governors (including Arraes), one senator, and fifteen federal deputies.Brazilian Communist Party
In 1993 the Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro--PCB), in a stormy national convention led by its president, Deputy Roberto Freire, removed Marxist-Leninist doctrine from the party statutes and the hammer and sickle from its flag, and changed its name to the PPS (Popular Socialist Party). The original PCB had been organized in 1922. At Moscow's initiative, Luis Carlos Prestes took over the PCB's leadership in the mid-1930s. Prestes presided over the party until the early 1980s, when he was ousted by a renovated Euro-communist faction that had tired of his Stalinist line. During its illegal period (1948-85), the PCB was able to elect a few of its members under other party labels. The PCB regained legal registry in 1985, elected three representatives to the ANC in 1986, and again in 1990, always in coalitions. Deputy Freire carried the PCB banner as candidate for president in 1989, and became floor leader of the Franco government in 1992. In 1994 the PPS joined the FBP in support of Lula and elected one senator (Freire) and only two federal deputies.Communist Party of Brazil
The Communist Party of Brazil (Partido Comunista do Brasil--PC do B) was created as an underground splinter from the PCB in 1958, following Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's denunciations of Stalinist atrocities. The PC do B repudiated the new Moscow line and aligned itself with Maoism. When the People's Republic of China began making economic reforms in 1979, the PC do B aligned itself with Albania. When Albania held its first free elections in 1992, the PC do B became nonaligned. After the PC do B was legalized in 1985, under the leadership of former deputy and former guerrilla João Amazonas, it elected more deputies in 1986 and 1990 than its arch rival, the PCB. The PC do B joined the FBP in support of Lula in 1989 and 1994. The PC do B doubled its delegation from five to ten federal deputies, representing nine states, in 1994. This feat resulted from PC do B domination of student organizations in most states and astute use of coalitions.
Within the basic government coalition--the PFL (Liberal Front Party), the PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party), and the PTB (Brazilian Labor Party)--the PFL is highly concentrated in the Northeast (Bahia and Pernambuco), and the PSDB to a lesser degree in the Southeast (São Paulo and Minas Gerais). Almost half of the PSDB deputies elected in the Northeast came from Ceará; the PTB elected only two deputies from the Northeast.
Those formally opposed to the new Cardoso government, led by the Workers' Party and PDT, are concentrated in the South and Southeast. The Workers' Party became the second largest delegation in the states of São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul in 1994, and slightly expanded its delegations in the North, Northeast, and Center-West (Centro-Oeste) regions. Although reduced from its 1990 size, the PDT remained the largest delegation in Rio de Janeiro, but fell to fourth rank in Rio Grande do Sul, after the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party), Workers' Party, and PPR (Progressive Renewal Party).
The PSB (Brazilian Socialist Party) is highly concentrated in the Northeast; nearly half of its fifteen deputies come from Pernambuco. The PC do B (Communist Party of Brazil) is the only small party to have elected deputies in all five regions of Brazil in 1994. It presents a very dispersed pattern, with ten deputies elected in nine states. The PC do B dominated student associations (university and high school) in almost all states and was able to mobilize these young voters to concentrate their preferences on one or two PC do B candidates in each state.
The delegations of the four parties considered potential allies of the government are mostly concentrated in the North, Center-West, and South. In 1994 the PMDB's two largest delegations came from the Southeast (thirty-two) and Northeast (thirty). Nonetheless, the PMDB was weakened in those regions in the 1994 elections, even though it elected four of the nine Northeastern governors (Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Alagoas, and Paraíba).
As a result of its electing three of the seven governors in the North, the PPR elected the second largest delegation from that region. Its second regional concentration was in the South, where it was tied with the Workers' Party with twelve deputies. The PPR became the second largest delegation in Rio de Janeiro with seven deputies. Leading defeated coalitions in the runoffs in Goiás and Brasília, the Progressive Party became the second largest delegation in the Center-West, after the PMDB. Its best performances at the state level were in Minas Gerais (seven deputies) and in Paraná (six deputies).
Because Congress did not pass a new organic law for political parties in 1994, political parties until 1995 were regulated by a patchwork quilt of legislation: the 1988 constitution, the old Organic Law imposed by the military, and a host of individual laws passed over the past twenty years, including Election Law No. 8,713, passed on September 30, 1993. Parties are considered part of public law, and the state regulates and supervises them closely. Although Article 17 of the 1988 constitution states that parties are free to organize, fuse, incorporate, or dissolve themselves, Paragraph 2 of the same article states that after parties acquire a "legal personality" under civil law they may then register their statutes. Although Paragraph 1 states that parties are free to organize themselves internally, in reality they are governed by a detailed, complex, and often conflicting set of legal rules.
After 1985 provisional organization of new parties became easier: 101 members of the party sign a petition with bylaws, statutes, and a program, which are registered with the TSE (Superior Electoral Court). Definitive registry is more complicated; within a twelve-month period, the new party must organize state directorates in nine states and in one-third of the municipalities in each of these states.
In late August 1995, Congress finally passed the new Organic Law of Political Parties, which had been under consideration since 1989. This law imposed stiffer criteria for the registration of new parties, stated that party switchers might lose their mandate, and established a "weak" threshold of 3 percent for proportional elections (parties with less than 3 percent of the valid vote would not be allowed to operate in Congress, but those elected would be seated). Continuous party switching has been a problem in Congress. In the first five months of the 1995 legislature (February through June), more than forty federal deputies (8 percent) switched party labels at least once.
On the final deadline date of October 2, 1995, Law No. 9,100 was passed and published in the daily record; it regulated the municipal elections of October 3, 1996. Some minor changes were enacted: a 20 percent quota for female candidates for city councils; less transparency in campaign finance than in 1994; very high limits for campaign contributions (up to US$221,000.00 for businesses and US$51,500.00 for individual persons); and a return to the 1990 rules on free radio/television time.
The government's strategy of controlling the election of the first civilian president in the 1985 electoral college almost received a mortal blow on April 25, 1984. On that day, the diretas já! constitutional amendment, which called for direct elections for president on November 15, 1984, came just twenty-two votes shy of the necessary two-thirds majority (320 votes). In late June 1984, the Liberal Front dissident group split from the military government's PDS (Democratic Social Party) and joined the PMDB led by Governor Tancredo Neves (Minas Gerais). In the second half of 1984, massive rallies engulfed Brazil, as the Tancredo Neves-Sarney ticket consolidated its 300-vote margin over Paulo Maluf (PDS-São Paulo) in the January 1985 electoral college.
Sarney got his start in politics in his home state of Maranhão in the late 1950s as federal deputy in the progressive wing of the National Democratic Union (União Democrática Nacional--UDN). A staunch supporter of the 1964 revolution, he was able to defeat the PSD (Social Democratic Party) political machine in direct elections for governor in 1965, and was elected senator by Arena (National Renewal Alliance) in 1970. The military government never quite accepted Sarney and vetoed his attempts to return to the governorship in 1974 and 1978. He was also passed over several times for the presidency of the Senate and for the post of minister of justice in 1980. As a consolation prize, he became president of the PDS. In 1984 Sarney was one of the dissident leaders of the schism in the PDS, and he became Tancredo Neves's running mate.
Tancredo Neves took ill on the eve of his inauguration on March 14, 1985, and died on April 21. Sarney was first sworn in as vice president and then acting president within a very loose interpretation of the constitutional norms for presidential succession.
Deputy Ulysses Guimarães had been elected president of the Chamber of Deputies on February 1 and by right should have assumed the presidency because neither Tancredo Neves nor Sarney had been inaugurated. On the death of Tancredo Neves, a new indirect election should have been called within ninety days. Guimarães, perhaps sensing that the military would not accept this scenario, graciously declined in favor of Sarney.
Sarney's first year was very difficult. He was unprepared to assume the presidency and was assisted immediately by General Ivan Souza Mendes, director of the National Intelligence Service (Serviço Nacional de Informações--SNI). In effect, Brazil's government was an informal parliamentary system during 1985, with Deputy Guimarães and PMDB Senate floor leader Fernando Henrique Cardoso acting as informal prime ministers. The Sarney administration moved to consolidate representative democracy in 1985: it legalized the two communist parties, the PCB and the PC do B, allowed illiterates to vote, and called for direct elections for mayors of all capital cities and "national security" municipalities.
The PMDB performed poorly in the November 15, 1985, mayoral elections, when former president Jânio Quadros of the PTB (Brazilian Labor Party) narrowly defeated Cardoso for mayor of São Paulo. However, Sarney recovered national prestige and high standing in the polls following the introduction of the Cruzado Plan on February 28, 1986, and began to consolidate his power as president. The PMDB became the great "umbrella" party in the 1986 elections, leading a broad coalition to victory in all states but Sergipe, and electing an absolute majority in the ANC (National Constituent Assembly).
Rapid consolidation of democracy in Brazil after 1985 was in part slowed by some of the concessions negotiated by Tancredo Neves with the military to ensure their support. Tancredo Neves agreed that members of the armed forces who had been expelled for subversion after 1964 would not receive amnesty and reinstatement; that there would be no independent, noncongressional Constituent Assembly; and that before the new constitution was finished and promulgated, none of the authoritarian decrees--National Security Law, antistrike law, repressive press law, and limitations on Congress--would be canceled or modified.
By October 1988, Sarney, who was still a nominal member of the PMDB, had grown very unpopular because of increasing inflation and allegations of corruption. As a result, the PMDB lost many cities in the November 15, 1988, municipal elections--of the 100 largest cities, the party dropped from seventy-seven to twenty mayors, but in 1992 elected twenty-nine; in 1996 the number fell back to only sixteen (see table 21, Appendix). In addition, impeachment proceedings were initiated against Sarney on charges of corruption. The CPI (Congressional Investigating Committee) reported in favor of impeachment, but the measure was not transmitted to the floor of the Chamber of Deputies for deliberation.
During Sarney's presidency, Brazil suffered four austerity shock plans and used three currencies. Thus, for the December 17, 1989, runoff, voters selected the two presidential candidates who most vociferously criticized the Sarney presidency--Collor (PRN) and Lula (Workers' Party).
Collor created extremely high expectations that he could solve Brazil's economic problems and that he could insert Brazil into the international economic arena. With one "silver bullet," he promised to rid Brazil of inflation, rampant corruption, and all marajás (literally maharajahs, or do-nothing, corrupt high government officials who draw huge salaries), while modernizing Brazil's economy and society.
Collor's ambitious program began by confiscating some US$50 billion in financial and bank assets from depositors and investors, thereby plunging the country into recession. He set about "taking the state apart," announcing that he would reduce the number of federal civilian employees from nearly 1 million to 300,000. Further, he would auction off government cars and housing in Brasília, sell all state enterprises, and begin a program to consolidate or eliminate the myriad of federal agencies. Collor's style of presidency was similar to that of developed countries and included well-orchestrated public relations campaigns and lavish entertaining.
Although he commanded a small minority bloc in Congress, Collor's high ratings in the polls and excellent television communication skills dissuaded many politicians from opposing his unusual proposals in an election year. Unlike the Cruzado Plan, which had helped Collor's election as governor of Alagoas in 1986, his 1990 stabilization plan did not produce positive economic results before the November 15 elections. Most of his allied gubernatorial candidates were defeated, and his coalition remained a minority in Congress. As inflation increased in 1991, the government began to flounder, and the opposition was able to thwart many of his proposals. Many of his initiatives in the international arena came to naught.
In late 1991, Collor counterattacked in a media blitz, blaming constitutional impediments for obstructing his modernization plan and boldly proposing a broad constitutional reform package of sixteen amendments. However, in March 1992, as new accusations of corruption mounted daily, Collor fired almost his entire cabinet (except for the military ministers and the ministers of health and education, who were not politicians) and brought in older, more experienced politicians who generally were considered "clean."
A month later, the president's younger brother, Pedro Collor, unleashed his bombastic accusations regarding the modus operandi of the corruption system, and on June 1, 1992, Congress installed the impeachment CPI. President Collor, together with his adviser, Paulo César Farias, and other cronies from Alagoas, had taken office with a "dynasty" strategy in mind. As described by Pedro Collor and other CPI witnesses, the Collor-Farias administration centralized all corruption, demanding 40 percent kickbacks for all government contracts and special policy decisions. With a war chest accumulating at nearly US$2 billion a year, they apparently expected to bribe their way into power for the next twenty years. As the 1993-94 Budgetgate CPI revealed, this conspiracy had numerous collaborators in Congress and the executive branch. Because the 1992 impeachment CPI threatened to widen its inquiry, the politicians decided to sacrifice Collor quickly to obscure their own involvement.
Senator Itamar Franco (Liberal Party-Minas Gerais) had been chosen as Collor's running mate for three reasons: Minas Gerais had the second largest electorate; Franco had led the impeachment CPI against Sarney's alleged corruption; and Franco was the ideal anti-impeachment "insurance" because of his idiosyncratic nature. During the 1989 campaign, Franco had threatened to resign several times and later voiced outspoken opposition to some Collor policies, especially concerning privatization. As president, Franco immediately installed a politically balanced cabinet and sought broad support in Congress.
Franco's presidential style was the opposite to that of Collor. A man of more simple habits and tastes, Franco refused the imperial, ceremonious presidential role. However, he proved to be quite temperamental, and many of his appointments were ill-conceived and short-lived. His most serious difficulty was defining an optimum economic strategy and selecting a minister of finance. He slowed Collor's privatization program to a near standstill and reverted to a developmentalist, nationalist model that was based on a national plan to guide the country through a series of stages of development, eventually culminating in modernization. After successively appointing two politicians and an academic economist to head the Ministry of Finance, Franco moved Senator Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PSDB-São Paulo) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Finance in May 1993.
In October 1993, Congress installed a CPI to investigate its own members involved in a far-reaching scandal within the joint budget committee. The scandal had begun during the Sarney period and extended into Franco's government. In addition to investigating possible involvement of some fifty members of Congress and identifying the "corruptors" in the private sector, the investigations unmasked a conspiracy ring within the executive branch that involved several middle-level bureaucrats. Distraught by the scandal reaching the executive branch, President Franco contemplated resigning. However, cooler heads persuaded him not to, and instead the president appointed several distinguished citizens to a Special Investigating Commission (Comissão Especial de Investigação--CEI) headed by the SAF (Federal Administration Secretariat) chief. Some of those involved in corruption were fired. Franco also appointed several military officers to civilian positions in the Ministry of Transport, Federal Police, and Office of the Federal Budget Director, which had difficult problems.
With Cardoso's PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) team installed at Finance, the Franco government became less erratic, and the kitchen cabinet's influence somewhat diminished. However, inflation had increased from 25 percent to 45 percent by April 1994, when Cardoso resigned to run for president, a month after his new stabilization plan went into effect.
The economic stabilization plan took into account all the errors of the Cruzado Plan of 1986, and both Cardoso and his team were aware of its potential effect on the 1994 elections. Because of the great success of the Real Plan, President Franco's approval rating soared to nearly 80 percent at the end of his term. The Franco-Cardoso transition was the most tranquil in Brazilian political history.
Cardoso was inaugurated as president on January 1, 1995, under the most auspicious circumstances. He had won an outright victory in the first round of the election and had potentially strong support blocs in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate. He had strong support from a majority of the newly elected governors, including those from the important states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, which had elected governors from the president's own PSDB. Further, the December 1994 inflation rate was less than 1 percent, unemployment was low, and popular expectations ratings were extremely high.
After his inauguration, Cardoso called the lame-duck Congress into session in an attempt to pass important legislation not acted on in 1994. President Cardoso abolished the CEI, which had not yet finished investigating corruption in the Franco administration, and transferred its mission to the new Internal Control Secretariat (Secretaria de Contrôle Interno--SCI). The Cardoso government pushed privatization and organized the sale of the Rio Dôce Valley Company (Companhia Vale do Rio Dôce--CVRD), one of the world's largest mining firms; the telecommunications system; and the electricity sector.
In 1995 Congress enacted major constitutional reforms, including economic deregulation, eliminating state monopolies, and changes in election and party legislation. By July 1995, the lower house had passed (and transmitted to the Senate) all five amendments dealing with the economic area. The amendments reduced to varying degrees state-held monopolies on coastal shipping, natural gas distribution, telecommunications, and petroleum, and eliminated the distinction between domestic and foreign firms in Article 171.
Perhaps the most important task of the Cardoso government in 1995 was to promote the reform of key sections of the 1988 constitution in order to reduce the role of the state in the economy, reform the federal bureaucracy, reorganize the social security system, rework federalist relationships, overhaul the complicated tax system, and effect electoral and party reforms to strengthen the political representation of political parties. In February 1995, the new Cardoso government moved quickly to initiate constitutional reform by a three-fifths majority of each house.
In the area of political reforms, Congress sought to improve Brazil's very weak party system. Congress proposed establishing a mixed system, prohibiting coalitions in proportional elections, establishing a minimum representation threshold (5 percent), permitting immediate reelection to executive office, imposing more rigid party fidelity norms, restricting party access to television and radio time, and establishing stricter regulations for campaign finance.
The women's suffrage movement began in Brazil in the early 1900s. As in the United States, women were first fully enfranchised at the state level. In 1927 in Rio Grande do Norte, the state election laws were amended giving women the right to vote. A year later, Alzira Soriano was elected mayor of Lajes, Santa Catarina State. Finally, the new national election code, signed by President Vargas in 1932, allowed women to vote in the May 1933 elections for the 1934 Constituent Assembly. Two women were elected to that body.
Many women have been elected mayors. In 1985 Luiza Fontenelle (Workers' Party) was the first woman elected in a state capital (Fortaleza, Ceará). The most important elective office held by a woman in Brazil was the mayorship of São Paulo, which Luiza Erundina (Workers' Party) won in 1988.
Although women have become federal judges by public examination, none has ever been appointed to Brazil's superior courts. In 1988 President Sarney appointed the first woman to the National Accounting Court. However, this appointment was more related to the appointee's notorious journalist husband than to her judicial qualifications (see Gender, ch. 2).
By 1994 women constituted nearly half of the electorate. In August 1994, data from the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) showed that of 94,782,410 registered voters, 49.4 percent were women.
No women were elected to Congress in the 1946-51 period, but Getúlio Vargas's niece, Ivette Vargas, was elected federal deputy from São Paulo in 1950 at age twenty-three. Women continued to have minuscule representation in Congress and in state assemblies until the political opening (abertura ) in 1982, when nine women were elected to the Chamber of Deputies, followed by twenty-six in 1986, twenty-three in 1990, and thirty-six in 1994. Among the latter, Vanessa Cunha (PSDB-Rio de Janeiro) was the youngest federal deputy at age twenty-two. Among state deputies, seventy-nine women were elected in 1994.
The first female senator assumed office in 1979 as an alternate on the death of her predecessor. Since then a few women have been elected to the Senate in successive elections. In 1994 fourteen women were candidates for the Senate, and four were elected.
In 1996 Congress adopted a quota system (20 percent) for female candidates for city council, and this policy increased the number of women elected. In 1997 Congress extended the mechanism to the 1998 general elections.
Until 1994 no women had been elected governor in their own right. When the governor of Acre resigned to run for the Senate in 1982, Yolanda Fleming was appointed governor to serve out the last ten months of the term. In 1994 eleven women ran for governor, and three made it into the second-round runoff--Angela Amin (PPR--Santa Catarina), Lúcia Vânia of the Progressive Party, and Roseana Sarney (PFL-Maranhão). Sarney, a daughter of the former president, was elected by a very small margin.
In 1994 women became candidates for vice president for the first time. The PMDB chose Iris Rezende, wife of the Goiás governor, to be Orestes Quêrcia's running mate. Although Rezende, a Protestant, had never held a formal political office, she was very active in politics while first lady of Goiás. With her candidacy, the PMDB hoped to attract the growing number of Protestant voters. Not to be outdone, the PPR chose Gardênia Gonçalves from Maranhão as a running mate for Senator Esperidião Amin. Gonçalves's husband had been a governor and senator from Maranhão, in opposition to the Sarney group, and in 1992 she was elected mayor of the capital city, São Luís.
Figueiredo (president, 1979-85) was the first president to name a woman to a cabinet position--Professor Esther Figueiredo Ferraz (no relation to the president) as minister of education and culture. His successors also appointed female cabinet ministers, the most famous of whom was Zélia Cardoso de Melo, President Collor's minister of economy. President Franco's cabinet included three women. President Cardoso appointed one woman during his first year in office, but she was replaced by a man in 1996.
Since independence Brazil has experimented with almost every possible electoral system: single and multimember districts, and proportional representation with various formulas. Only the so-called mixed systems are yet to be tried. Election day is always a national holiday. Until 1965 national and state elections were held on October 3, but the military moved the date to November 15 (Day of the Republic, a military holiday). The constitution of 1988 reestablished October 3 (ninety days before the inauguration of executive-branch elected officials) for the first round of voting, and November 15 for runoff elections when needed. As of 1998, first-round elections will be held on the first Sunday in October and runoff second rounds on the last Sunday of October.
Brazilian election laws are very complex and detailed. The law requires that all candidates who hold executive positions resign six months before the election (see The Legislature, this ch.). No "write-in" candidacies are allowed; only candidates officially presented by a registered political party may participate. Parties choose their candidates in municipal, state, or national conventions. Although the legislation does not recognize party primaries officially, on occasion they have been used informally.
Voting is considered both a right and a duty in Brazil; thus, registration and voting are compulsory between the ages of eighteen and seventy. Illiterates vote, but their voting registration card identifies their status, and they sign the voting list with a fingerprint on election day. The 1988 constitution lowered the voting age, permitting sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds to vote on a voluntary basis. In 1994 these young voters (who cannot legally drink or drive) totaled 2,132,190 (2.2 percent of the electorate). For these reasons, turnouts for all elections in Brazil are very high, usually more than 85 percent. At certain times, voters have cast blank and void ballots as a means of protest, especially in 1970, when military oppression was at its height.
Before 1966 individual paper ballots were used for each office, and the voter placed the appropriate set in an envelope, which was inserted into the ballot box. Since 1966 unified single ballots have been used for simultaneous elections. In 1996 fifty-one of Brazil's largest cities used a new electronic voting machine with great success. In 1998 some 90 million voters will use this new technique, which may become a hot export item. For majority elections, candidates' names are listed in random order, and the voter must mark the respective box. For proportional elections, the voter can write the name or identification (ID) number of the candidate, or write the symbol or ID number of the party preference. There is no alternative to making a straight party vote for all offices on the ballot. This procedure is extremely complicated for voters with little schooling. In elections in the first half of the 1990s, many voted for one or two executive offices and left the rest of the ballot blank.
Before Congress adopted Law No. 8,713 in September 1993, there were few restrictions on campaign finances. Businesses and labor unions could not make political contributions. Individual persons could contribute to parties, but not to individual candidates. Parties were required to submit their accounting to the TSE (Superior Electoral Court), countersigned by each other. In 1994 contributions from individual businesses (but not labor unions) were legalized, and electoral bonus (bônus eleitoral ) receipts were issued to contributors, who have often used them to evade taxes.
In 1994 Law No. 8,713 also required parties and candidates to submit to the electoral courts detailed balance sheets listing contributors and expenses. These reports were made public and hastily analyzed by the press. Cardoso's presidential campaign listed expenses of nearly R$32 million, about one real per vote, and contributions from banks, large construction firms, and businesses.
Brazil has four types of majority elections: the president, governors, and mayors are elected by absolute majorities; senators, by simple majorities. In elections for president, governors, and mayors of cities with more than 200,000 voters, a runoff is required between the top two candidates if no one receives an absolute majority in the first round (50 percent plus at least one vote). The president, governors, and mayors have their respective vice president, vice governors, and vice mayors, who are elected on unified slates.
The May 1994 constitutional revision reducing the presidential term from five to four years unified the terms of the president, state governors, and Congress. State and national elections are scheduled for 1998 and 2002, two years out of phase with municipal elections, which are set for 1996 and 2000.
Three senators are elected by simple majority to represent each of the twenty-six states and the Federal District. They are elected to alternating eight-year terms: one seat will be contested in 1998 and the other two in 2002. Each senator has an alternate elected on a unified ticket, usually from another party in the coalition. If the senator elected takes leave, dies, resigns, or is expelled, the alternate takes over.
Brazil uses an open-list d'Hondt proportional representation system to elect federal and state deputies and city council members. Each party or coalition selects its list of candidates, which is registered with the respective Electoral Court in June. Coalition partners lose their identity and compete in a single "basket" of votes. Coalitions are very important for proportional representation elections in Brazil. In 1962 nearly 50 percent of federal deputies were elected through coalitions. With the surge of new parties created after 1985, coalitions again appeared in the 1986, 1990, and 1996 elections. These coalitions accounted for nearly 90 percent of those elected.
In proportional representation elections, voters have the option of making a party vote. Usually, however, the proportional representation campaigns are so individualized (many candidates never mention their party label in their propaganda) that the party vote is very small (8 percent in 1994). An exception is the Workers' Party, which received 33 percent of its votes for federal deputy as party votes in 1994.
The 1989 presidential election, the first direct presidential election since 1960, was established by the 1988 constitution. The 1988 municipal elections were a preview of the 1989 elections for the PMDB, the nation's largest party, which lost in most cities with a population of more than 100,000. Leonel Brizola's PDT (Democratic Labor Party) and Lula's Workers' Party made considerable gains, as voters made plain their rejection of parties associated with the Sarney government.
As a result of more lenient legislation, twenty-two parties qualified candidates for the presidency in 1989. The PRN (Party of National Reconstruction) was hastily organized by a questionable takeover of the Youth Party (Partido da Juventude--PJ) to launch the candidacy of Alagoas governor Fernando Collor de Mello, who had been elected by the PMDB in 1986, and had a brief flirtation with the PSDB in late 1988. Six of the major candidates were closely associated with the Sarney period or with the Big Center in the ANC (National Constituent Assembly).
By June 1989, Collor, aided by numerous television appearances, had close to 50 percent of voter preference. His other advantages in this election included his antiparty and antiestablishment posture; his being relatively unknown politically; a huge war chest of campaign funds, efficiently collected by campaign treasurer, Paulo Cesar Farias; a fleet of fifteen Lear jets at his disposal for campaigning; a sophisticated campaign organization; and his good communication and oratory skills, acquired while working at the family television station in Maceió.
In the first round of voting, Collor received 28.5 percent of the votes and Lula, 16.1 percent, slightly edging out Brizola in a close third (see table 22, Appendix). In the second round, Lula managed to pull ahead of Collor in the polls by some 5 percent in the last ten days of the campaign. However, because of Collor's negative campaign attacks against Lula, the election swung in Collor's favor by a 5.7 percent margin (see table 23, Appendix). Collor's geographic vote distribution was very similar to that of the PDS (Democratic Social Party)--the smaller the city, the larger Collor's proportion of the vote.
Although President Collor had been able to pass most of his emergency legislation in 1990, he knew that his government needed to elect a solid majority to Congress, backed up by sympathetic governors. The economic stabilization plan adopted in March 1990 produced a deep recession, which was not reversed before the October 3 general elections. The 1988 constitution had created three new states--Amapá, Roraima, and Tocantins--and home rule came to Brasília, which elected its first governor. Thus, twenty-six states and the Federal District held simultaneous elections for governor, state assemblies, the full 503-member Chamber of Deputies, and thirty-one senators (the new states of Amapá and Roraima elected three senators each).
Seventeen of the gubernatorial races had runoffs on November 15. Among the twenty-seven governors elected, Collor had four staunch allies, eleven sometime allies, and twelve in opposition. Parties nominally aligned with Collor had elected close to an absolute majority (252) of federal deputies, but because of low party loyalty and cohesion, the president had great difficulty passing his legislative agenda in 1991 (see table 24, Appendix). The PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) remained the largest party in Congress, retaining the presidency of the Senate. However, in 1993 the PMDB lost the presidency of the Chamber to a PFL-led coalition. Nineteen parties gained representation in the lower house.
The 1994 elections were significant because the presidential election coincided with the general elections for governor, senator, and federal and state deputy for the first time since 1950. It was expected that a strong presidential showing would have strong coattails (see Glossary) at the state level. However, many thought that election results proved otherwise. Coalition-building was generally inconsistent between the national and state levels, because local political animosities and affinities were so diverse from state to state that none of the presidential coalitions could cover all the possible combinations. Among the major parties, the PFL, PTB (Brazilian Labor Party), and Progressive Party decided not to field separate presidential candidates. The PMDB, PDT (Democratic Labor Party), PPR (Progressive Renewal Party), Workers' Party, and PSDB decided to run their own candidates. Four minor parties--the Liberal Party (Partido Liberal--PL), National Order Redefinition Party (Partido da Redefinição da Ordem Nacional--Prona), PRN (Party of National Reconstruction), and Social Christian Party (Partido Social Cristão--PSC)--also nominated candidates.
Despite opposition from a minority, the PMDB nominated former São Paulo governor Orestes Quêrcia as its presidential candidate. The PDT again nominated Leonel Brizola. Lula's Workers' Party articulated a broad coalition on the left, including the Brazilian Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro--PSB), Popular Socialist Party (Partido Popular Socialista--PPS), PC do B (Communist Party of Brazil), and Green Party (Partido Verde--PV). However, Marxist wings of the Workers' Party, having gained control of the party's Executive Committee, imposed a difficult, radical platform on the campaign.
Cardoso had become minister of finance in May 1993 and had assembled the same PSDB economic team that had formulated the Cruzado Plan in 1986. This time, however, the team put together a stabilization plan that included the components missing in 1986. The hope was that the initiative would boost Cardoso's potential candidacy into the second round. In February 1994, Congress approved the Real Value Units (Unidades Reais de Valor--URVs; see real (R$) in Glossary) Stabilization Plan, which gave the minister of finance almost absolute power to impound or reallocate budgeted funds, reduce the fiscal deficit, and conduct a rescheduling of the foreign debt.
The impact of the Real Plan on the preference polls was even more dramatic than PSDB strategists had imagined. They had thought that, at best, if the plan were a success, Cardoso might pull even with Lula by the end of August, thus guaranteeing a second round in November. However, Cardoso surpassed Lula in the Datafolha firm's presidential preference poll results at the end of July by successfully branding the Workers' Party as against the Real Plan and for inflation. Cardoso went on to win the election outright on the first round with 54.3 percent of the valid votes cast (44.1 percent of the total vote, including blank and null ballots) (see table 25, Appendix). Lula placed second with 27.0 percent. Cardoso's PSDB-PFL-PTB coalition received additional support from the PMDB and PPR, which abandoned their candidates and climbed aboard the Cardoso bandwagon. In addition to electing the president and a majority of the governors, the Center coalition returned substantial majorities to Congress.
The social-liberal alliance, the Big Center, that elected Cardoso on the first round enjoyed only moderate presidential coattails at the state level (see table 26, Appendix). The PSDB-PFL-PTB alliance elected nine (33 percent) governors, twenty-four of fifty-four (44 percent) senators up for election, 182 of 513 (35 percent) federal deputies, and 324 of 1,045 (31 percent) state deputies. Cardoso placed first in every state except the Federal District (Brasília) and Rio Grande do Sul. Lula surpassed Cardoso in the Federal District and Rio Grande do Sul, where his coattails pulled the Workers' Party gubernatorial candidates into the second round.
The 1994 gubernatorial election was the fourth in a series of direct elections for governor since their reinstatement in 1982. Compared with 1990, the PSDB had the best performance of all parties in 1994. The PSDB was formed hastily in June 1988, and in 1990 elected only one governor (Ceará). In 1994 the PSDB won six governorships, including Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. These three states account for nearly 60 percent of Brazil's gross national product (GNP--see Glossary) and tax base. Certainly, presidential coattails and the Real Plan were important factors in these three second-round victories. Brizola's PDT lost the three states won in 1990, but in 1994 elected the governors of Paraná (Jaime Lerner) and Mato Grosso (Dante de Oliveira), both on the first round. The Workers' Party made it into the second round in three states and won in two: Brasília and Espírito Santo. The two victories gave the Workers' Party a chance to demonstrate how it would manage a state government. The party had already elected mayors in major cities (São Paulo, Porto Alegre, and Belo Horizonte) in 1988 and 1992.
Of the fifty-four Senate seats up for election in 1994, only nine incumbents were reelected. Six of the twenty-seven senators elected in 1990 were replaced by their respective alternates (five were elected to other offices and one died). Thus, in 1995 fifty-one of the eighty-one senators were new, although five of the latter had served in the Senate before 1990. The PMDB, PFL, and PSDB continued to have the largest upper-house delegations; and the PFL made substantial gains (see table 27, Appendix). The most significant change was the advance of the left. From only two senators in 1991, this group increased to seven (five from the Workers' Party). The PPS, the former PCB (Brazilian Communist Party), elected its first senator (Roberto Freire) since Luís Carlos Prestes was elected in 1945.
The Chamber of Deputies was enlarged in 1995 with the expansion of the São Paulo State delegation from sixty to seventy as mandated by the 1988 constitution. Turnover in the lower house in 1995 (275 new deputies out of 513, or 53.6 percent) was slightly lower than that in 1991. As in 1991, the Chamber of Deputies in 1995 continued to have two larger parties (PMDB and PFL) and six middle-sized parties. By electing deputies in all five regions of Brazil, these eight parties, as well as the PC do B, have a more national representation.
Voter turnout was lower in 1994 (82.2 percent) than in 1989 (88.1 percent), and blank and null votes were more frequent in 1994 than in 1989. These differences may have resulted in part from the fact that the 1994 election was more complicated, with two ballots and six offices.
Brazil has very intense and diversified interest groups. Before 1964 the most visible were labor unions, student organizations, and business groups, which exercised their pressures more on Congress than on the executive branch. During the military period, especially from 1969 to 1974, interest groups continued to operate but almost exclusively vis-à-vis the executive branch. In 1983, when it became apparent that a political transition would take place, Congress again became the focal point of interest groups. The most explicit example of this trend was the ANC (National Constituent Assembly), when literally thousands of lobbyists--one researcher catalogued 121 noninstitutional groups--descended on Brasília.Interest Groups
Government institutions lobby the executive and legislative branches through their legislative liaisons and employee associations. The president's office maintains a Subsecretariat for Congressional Relations. State enterprise employee associations, such as those of the Brazilian Petroleum Corporation (Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.--Petrobrás) and the Brazilian Electric Power Company, Inc. (Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras S.A.--Eletrobrás), have very active lobbying organizations, as do federal employees. All states and many large cities maintain permanent representation offices in Brasília. Although strictly prohibited, military officers exerted heavy pressure on the government for better salaries in 1992-94 through protest marches by military families.
In 1983 the Interunion Parliamentary Advisory Department (Departamento Intersindical de Assessorial Parlamentar--DIAP) was founded to coordinate and unify the lobbying efforts of the labor movement. The DIAP represented 517 unions, nine confederations, and one central federation in 1992. The DIAP soon proved highly efficient in monitoring legislative activities, publishing profiles of the performance of congressional members, and identifying friends and enemies of workers. In the 1991-94 period, the party leadership's manipulations attempted to thwart DIAP monitoring by floor voting, and very few roll-call votes were taken during that session.
Since the 1930s, business groups have been organized into umbrella federations at the state level and confederations at the national level, such as the São Paulo State Federation of Industries (Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo--FIESP) and the National Confederation of Industry (Confederação Nacional das Indústrias--CNI). Other businesses are organized as national associations by sector: the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Companies (Associação Brasileira das Empresas de Rádio e Televisão--ABERT), the Brazilian Electro-Electronic Industry Association (Associação Brasileira da Indústria Eletro-Eletrônica--ABINEE), and the Brazilian Aluminum Association (Associação Brasileira de Alumínio--ABAL). Business groups mounted a very efficient lobbying operation in support of the Big Center during the ANC.
Professional groups, such as associations of medical doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, and engineers, are usually more active regarding the regulation of their professions, but occasionally attempt to influence more generalized economic and social legislation. Since the 1970s, there has been a steady growth of urban social movements and groups concerned with issues such as the prevention and treatment of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), racial prejudice, consumer rights, ecology, the homeless, Indians, mortgages, street children, and tenants. As a result, there has been a parallel growth of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Some NGOs are considered aggregative, such as the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analysis (Instituto Brasileiro de Análise Social e Econômica--IBASE) in Rio de Janeiro, or the Institute of Socioeconomic Studies (Instituto de Estudos Sócio-Econômicos--Inesc) in Brasília. Some are more issue-focused, such as the Center for Indian Rights (Núcleo de Direitos Indígenos--NDI) in Brasília, or SOS Atlantic Forest (SOS Mata Atlântica) in Rio de Janeiro.
Religious groups are also important. The Roman Catholic Church acts officially through the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil--CNBB). However, it has an unofficial far right wing in the Brazilian Association of Tradition, Family, and Property (Sociedade Brasileira de Defesa da Tradição, Família e Propriedade--TFP), and an unofficial left wing of liberation theology linked to the Ecclesiastical Base Communities (Comunidades Eclesiais de Base--CEBs) (see Glossary). The center and left had always elected the president and general secretary of the CNBB since its inception. However, in May 1995 conservative Prime Bishop-Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves was elected president of the CNBB, a consequence of Pope John Paul II's consistent appointment of conservative bishops in Brazil. The Protestants have their Order of Evangelical Ministers (Ordem dos Ministros Evangélicos--OME) and Political Action Evangelical Group (Grupo Evangélico de Ação Política--GEAP).The Lobbying Process
Three basic styles of lobbying are found in Brasília: the interest group sends its own representatives to Brasília, when the legislative agenda warrants; the interest group has its own representatives permanently installed in Brasília; or the group contracts with lobbyists in Brasília to represent its interests. Professional lobbyists systematically monitor the activities of Congress and the executive branch regarding legislative agendas and procedures. Visits by groups and individual interests to strategic members of Congress are organized frequently. In some cases, the deputies' geographical vote profiles for the last election within their state are analyzed for the client. When the interest group has a large membership, bus caravans to Brasília are organized to pressure Congress or the executive branch.
As in many legislatures, the Brazilian Congress also has inside lobbyists; that is, Chamber of Deputies or Senate staff, and some members themselves (the so-called single-issue deputy or senator). Because staff are very important to the legislative process, they are cultivated assiduously by lobbyists, and many become sensitive to (or eventually agents for) certain interest groups. In response to these pressures, the Chamber of Deputies Research Staff Association began preparing a Code of Ethics in 1993.
Campaign contributions are local and are an integral part of the lobbying process. The Ministry of Finance issues electoral bonus receipts for campaign contributions. Many contributing businesses, however, have used these receipts to evade taxes by providing documentation for their bogus records, known as their caixa dois (second set of books). Several bills have been introduced to address this problem, but no legislation had been passed by early 1997. The Chamber of Deputies allows groups to receive lobbying credentials. In the 1991-92 session, thirty-nine groups (twenty-eight business groups) received credentials, in addition to all ministries and sixteen other public-sector agencies. The Senate does not offer credentials.
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 national satellite tv 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. See <"http://www.satisfied-mind.com/directv/">Satellite TV - DirecTV and Dish Network.
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.
The Rio Branco Institute (Instituto Rio Branco--IRBr) recruits from twenty to thirty candidates each year among college graduates. After four semesters of intensive study of language and diplomacy, graduates receive a certified bachelor of arts degree in diplomacy and begin their careers as third secretaries. In 1996 the IRBr began studies to upgrade the course to an M.A. program. The IRBr teaching staff is composed of senior diplomats and some academics from the University of Brasília (Universidade de Brasília). Some foreign students are admitted, mostly from Latin America and Africa.
After three or four years experience within several divisions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (known as Itamaraty, after the building it formerly occupied in Rio de Janeiro), the junior diplomat is posted overseas. Promotion to second and first secretary is by merit (evaluation by immediate superiors). Before promotion to minister second class, the diplomat goes through a mid-career course and produces a monograph, which is defended before an examining board. Many diplomats also acquire graduate degrees during their career. Promotion to the final positions of counselor (minister first class) and ambassador involves a combination of merit and political considerations; the president makes the final decision. Because Itamaraty has more diplomats than posts overseas and in Brasília, diplomats frequently fill key positions in other ministries, state enterprises, and the president's office. Brazilian diplomats generally are considered skilled and patient negotiators by their peers.
Most foreign policy strategies and decisions originate within Itamaraty. A senior diplomat always occupies the position of foreign affairs adviser within the president's office, and diplomats occupy similar liaison positions in key ministries. Since the 1980s, Itamaraty, in response to the growing complexity of foreign policy issues, has established new divisions dealing with export promotion, environmental affairs, science and technology, and human rights. Itamaraty also established the International Relations Research Institute (Instituto das Pesquisas das Relações Internacionais--IPRI) as part of the Alexandre Gusmão Foundation, which functions as a think tank and conference center and publishes foreign policy studies.
The Senate and Chamber of Deputies each have foreign affairs standing committees. Under the 1988 constitution, the Senate expanded its treaty approval prerogative to include all international financial agreements, such as negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF--see Glossary) and international banks, which in the past had been the exclusive prerogative of the executive branch (see The Military in the Amazon, ch. 5). The Congress also has involved itself in major government contracts with foreign companies, such as the contract with Raytheon for an Amazon surveillance system.
The Brazilian Cooperation Agency (Agência Brasileira de Cooperacão--ABC), a foreign aid agency formally established in the late 1980s, coordinates all international technical cooperation and assistance received by Brazil from foreign donors (often, but not always, within the context of bilateral agreements). For example, in the absence of a United States-Brazil bilateral agreement, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) programs in Brazil are not coordinated through the ABC. The ABC also coordinates Brazilian international technical cooperation and assistance directed to other countries, mostly through South-South relationships conducted by Brazilian government agencies, universities, and NGOs.
At times other agencies may take the lead in foreign policy decision making. For example, in June 1995 the economic sector, led by the Ministry of Planning, made the initial decision to impose quotas on imported automobiles. This decision provoked a crisis within the Common Market of the South (Mercado Comum do Sul--Mercosul; see Glossary)--because Argentine automobile exports to Brazil would have been affected. Itamaraty intervened, and a solution was negotiated excepting Mercosul from the rigors of the measure.
The military had the final say on foreign policy during the 1964-85 period, when foreign policy was decided frequently within the National Security Council (Conselho de Segurança Nacional--CSN). Since then the military occasionally has exercised some influence. When the United Nations (UN) requested Brazilian troops for a peacekeeping force in Namibia during the delicate, pre-election phase of transition in 1991, Itamaraty was favorable, but the army vetoed the initiative. The reverse occurred in 1995. After a successful peacekeeping mission in Mozambique in 1993-94, the army, in search of new missions, approved sending a battalion to the peacekeeping operation in Angola. However, for reasons of economic austerity the ministries of Planning and Finance delayed the appropriation until 1996.
Brazil was a founding member of the League of Nations (see Glossary) in 1920 and the UN in 1945, and has chaired the UN Security Council on several occasions. Brazil is also an active participant in the Organization of American States (OAS; see Glossary), IMF, World Bank (see Glossary), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB; see Glossary), African Development Bank (ADB), World Trade Organization (WTO, which now administers the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade--GATT; see Glossary), International Commodity Organization (coffee, cocoa beans), and Antarctic Treaty. International pressures have been strong on Brazil to join certain agreements, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Brazil announced its decision to sign on June 20, 1997. Brazil joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR--see Glossary) in October 1995.
Brazil has participated in UN peacekeeping operations since the Suez Crisis in 1956. A Brazilian contingent participated in the UN observer force that guaranteed the October 1994 elections in Mozambique, and in the UN observer force in Bosnia in 1995. Regarding the latter, a Brazilian general commanded a force of 680 observers, of whom thirty-four were Brazilians. In May 1995, two Brazilian officers were among the several hundred UN observers captured by the Bosnian Serbs and used as human shields against further NATO bombings. The number of Brazilian personnel attached to UN peacekeeping operations has gradually declined from 1,166 in August 1996 to forty-eight in September 1997. Because of its active participation in UN activities and its status as a middle-level emerging economic and political power, Brazil aspires to a permanent seat on the Security Council, if and when membership in this body is expanded.
Brazil's first circle of international relations is with its Latin American neighbors. Being the largest nation in the region makes this process somewhat delicate. Most border issues were settled in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but some questions concerning the borders with Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, and Venezuela remain. In 1995 Brazilian farmers and forest gatherers penetrated Bolivia's Pando Department, in an action reminiscent of the invasion of Acre by Brazilian rubber tappers in the 1890s. Brazil regularly extends export credits and university scholarships to its Latin American neighbors. A certain quota of Latin Americans are admitted to the Rio Branco Institute and the armed forces staff schools.
An active participant in regional security activities, Brazil hosted the conference that established the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) in 1947. In addition, Brazil was a founding member of the OAS in 1948 and has participated in several OAS peacekeeping endeavors. Most notable was Brazil's participation in the Inter-American Peace Force (Fuerzas Interamericanas de Paz--FIP) in the Dominican Republic in 1965. In the 1980s, Brazil was an active participant in the Contadora Support Group (see Glossary), which sought a permanent peace in Central America. In June 1995, eighty-seven Brazilians were attached to peacekeeping operations in the Americas--thirty-seven in El Salvador, thirty-two in Nicaragua, ten on the Ecuador/Peru border, six in Honduras, and two in Guatemala.
The Treaty of Asunción--signed in 1991 by Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay--was the culmination of a rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina after 160 years of regional rivalry (see Trade Patterns and Regional Economic Integration, ch. 3). It also incorporated Uruguay and Paraguay into Mercosul, and Bolivia and Chile joined Mercosul in 1996.
During the period from the 1970s to 1995, the relative importance of the European Economic Community (EEC; now the European Union--EU) as a trading partner with Brazil was reduced, but increased in the mid-1990s. By 1995 German investments in Brazil were second only to the United States, but Britain, Italy, and France also have important investments, mostly in industrial manufacturing, heavy equipment and automobiles, and consumer goods. In mid-1995 negotiations advanced toward establishing a free-trade association between the EU and Mercosul. In December 1995, the EU signed an important free-trade protocol with Mercosul, the first ever between two regional trading blocs. Since then Brazil has adroitly used the EU card to force a slowdown of the United States pressure to "fast track" the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Relations with the EU are economically important, but even more so from a North-South political perspective. Brazil and its Mercosul partners want to strengthen their trading bloc to include not only Chile but also Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela before 2005, to be able to negotiate as a bloc with NAFTA, as opposed to bilateral negotiations as favored by the administration of President William Jefferson Clinton. The United States view is that 2005 is the date for the FTAA to be "fully operational," whereas Brazil and its Mercosul partners view the year 2005 as a "starting point" for the FTAA process.
Immigrants from the Middle East began arriving in Brazil in large numbers in the twentieth century, especially following World War I. These immigrants spread throughout Brazil but can be found mostly in the Southeast region, where many are merchants.
Brazil's economic relations with the Middle East were accelerated by the 1973 petroleum crisis. Brazil tried to maintain a moderate stance vis-à-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict and supported all UN peace initiatives. In late 1973, Brazil established embassies in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and legations in Libya and Kuwait, and it signed cooperation agreements with Egypt, Israel, and Iraq.
However, in 1975, because of the deepening petroleum crisis and in search of petrodollar investments, Brazil tilted its foreign policy in favor of the Arab (Palestinian) cause in three crucial votes in the UN. Brazil's military government upgraded its representation in Iraq by appointing a succession of four-star generals as ambassadors to Baghdad. When the Iran-Iraq War broke out in 1979, nearly 35 percent of Brazil's oil imports were coming from Iraq. In 1981 it was reported that Brazil had sold low-grade uranium ore or yellow cake (see Glossary) to Iraq.
The Iraq-Kuwait conflict, which resulted in Operation Desert Storm in early 1991, placed Brazil in a very delicate position. United States congressional subcommittees accused Brazil of exporting technology and expertise to Iraq to develop a missile based on the Piranha missile (MAA-1). Retired Air Force Brigadier Hugo Oliveira Piva had taken a private group of Brazilian technicians to Baghdad to complete this project; under pressure, the Collor government ordered the group's return to Brazil.
At the time of Desert Storm, a Brazilian construction company, Mendes Júnior, had several hundred workers and technicians, as well as several million dollars worth of equipment, in southern Iraq working on railroad and irrigation projects. Thus, Brazil, unlike Argentina, did not participate in the Allied operation. The Brazilian government had to dispatch its key negotiator, Ambassador Paulo de Tarso Flecha de Lima, from his post in London to negotiate the release of the Mendes Júnior personnel from Iraq and the disposition of the equipment. Brazil had won a US$5 billion price and performance competition to supply its Osório tank to Saudi Arabia in 1990, but the Kuwait conflict changed the decision in favor of the United States Abrams tank.
Brazil's relations with Africa date from the beginning of the slave trade in the seventeenth century. By the middle of the nineteenth century, many former slaves had returned to West Africa and had become prosperous merchants and entrepreneurs, and regular shipping lines and commerce flourished from Bahia. After 1945 Brazil maintained a low-profile position in the anticolonialism debate in the UN, but supported the positions of Portugal, Belgium, France, and Britain. In 1961 President Jânio Quadros's new independent foreign policy made some timid advances in favor of independence for the remaining colonies in Africa. During the Goulart period (1961-64), Brazil took contradictory positions, especially regarding Portugal. Brazil's main contacts with the newly independent nations of West Africa involved price-fixing attempts within the International Coffee Organization. The Castelo Branco administration (1964-67) sent two commercial missions to Africa, the Costa e Silva administration (1967-69) opened an embassy in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) and one in Kinshasa (Zaire).
Nonetheless, the opening to Africa really began during the presidency of Emílio Garrastazú Médici (1969-74). In November 1972, Foreign Minister Mário Gibson Barbosa visited nine West African countries. In 1973 Brazil voted in favor of anticolonialism measures in the UN. This vote and follow-up trade missions resulted in numerous bilateral agreements and Brazil's participation in the ADB (African Development Bank). South African companies made considerable investments in Brazil, especially in mining. Brazil's exports to Africa jumped from US$90.4 million in 1972 to US$1.96 billion in 1981, and its imports from US$152.9 million to US$1.98 billion.
Brazil's opening to Africa was consolidated during the Geisel period (1974-79), which coincided with the emancipation of the five Portuguese colonies in Africa. Brazil recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde in July 1974, before it was conceded by Portugal. In November 1975, Brazil became the first Western nation to recognize the independence of Angola, under the revolutionary government of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola--MPLA), and to establish an embassy in Luanda. Brazil's stance caused much consternation for the United States because the MPLA government in Angola was socialist and dependent on the communist bloc and Cuba at that time. That same month, Brazil established relations with the government in Mozambique because of its strategic importance in southern East Africa and the Indian Ocean. Within the context of the Cold War and Brazil's anticommunist military government, this decision was a bold move on the part of the Geisel government. However, Brazil placed considerable importance on establishing relations with African countries. It was hard hit by the 1973-74 petroleum crisis and desired access to West African oil exports in particular. The petrodollars thus earned were used to buy Brazilian exports of manufactured goods through Petrobrás International Trade, Inc. (Petrobrás Comércio Internacional S.A.--Interbrás).
Over the next twenty years, Brazil established very close relations with the lusophone or Portuguese-Speaking African Countries (Paises Africanos de Lingua Oficial Portuguêsa--PALOPs). In addition to Angola and Mozambique, these included São Tomé e Príncipe, Cabo Verde, and Guinea-Bissau. The Rio Grande do Sul Airline (Viação Aérea Rio-Grandense do Sul--Varig) established regular flights to Lagos, Nigeria; Abidjan; Luanda, Angola; and Maputo, Mozambique. However, in the early 1990s flights were suspended to Lagos (to control drug traffic) and Maputo. President Figueiredo (1974-85) was the first Brazilian president to visit Africa (five countries in November 1983). Brazilian construction companies undertook hydroelectric and infrastructure projects, and Petrobrás signed risk contracts for oil exploration.
By 1986 Brazil had twenty-two embassies in the region, and President Sarney continued the expansion of relations with Africa, visiting Cape Verde in 1986 and Angola in 1989. African heads of state from Algeria, Zaire, Cape Verde, and Mozambique, as well as Sam Nujoma of the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO), also visited Brasília. By 1985 commerce between Africa and Brazil had grown to US$3.3 billion.
In the context of the independence of Namibia in 1990, the UN requested a Brazilian battalion to participate in peacekeeping operations, but Brazil refused, saying that the army was not prepared and the government lacked resources for such a venture. However, when the UN asked for Brazilian army and police participants in peacekeeping operations during the October 1994 election in Mozambique, the Itamar Franco government was quick to oblige. In 1995 the Cardoso government sent a full engineering battalion to Angola to participate in UN operations (minesweeping and infrastructure rebuilding). In 1996 President Cardoso made a short visit to Angola en route to a longer state visit to South Africa.
Before 1960 Brazil maintained diplomatic relations with three Asian nations: Japan, India, and Nationalist China (Taiwan). In that year, Brazil established ties with the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In August 1961, President Quadros sent his vice president, João Goulart, to the People's Republic of China as head of a commercial delegation. In August 1974, Brazil broke relations with Taiwan and established full relations with China, four years before the United States. The Nationalist diplomats were evicted unceremoniously from the Chinese embassy in Brasília to make way for the new tenants.
In the 1970s and 1980s, relations with Asia expanded to ten embassies in Brasília. Because of the growing importance of the newly industrialized countries in the Pacific Basin, Brazil installed a legation in Singapore. Although not a major trading partner, India became an important South-South ally in international forums, such as the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), GATT, and the Group of 77 (G-77).
With its gradual economic opening to the West, mainland China has become an important trading partner for Brazil since the 1980s. Petrobrás began oil exploration under risk contract, and engineering services were contracted for mining and hydroelectric ventures. In addition, the Chinese have purchased large quantities of Brazilian iron ore and steel plate.
However, Japan has received the highest priority within the region. Brazil established diplomatic relations with Japan in 1897. The first Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil in 1908, as the São Paulo coffee planters sought alternative free labor after the abolition of slavery in 1888. This influx of Japanese immigrants continued until 1934, when the new constitution limited foreign immigration to 2 percent of the past fifty years. Diplomatic relations broke off during World War II, but resumed in 1952. Some 100 years after the first waves of immigration, Brazilians of Japanese descent constitute one of the largest ethnic segments of Brazil's population.
In the 1960s, Japan began to invest heavily in various sectors in Brazil, including mining, steel, aluminum, telecommunications, manufacturing, and agricultural ventures (the latter in the Central Highlands plateau region and the Amazon). In return, Japan imported large quantities of iron, other nonferrous ores, unfinished steel and aluminum products, and soybeans and other agricultural products.
In the 1980s, with cycles of recession and decreasing employment opportunities in Brazil, a reverse immigration flux began; some 200,000 Brazilians of Japanese descent traveled to Japan in search of jobs. Their monthly remittances to their families remaining in Brazil have become an important item in bilateral commerce.
In 1992 Japanese companies invested US$1.4 billion in Brazil in the areas of telecommunications, capital goods, mining, and metallurgy. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has sponsored many rural colonization projects in Brazil since the 1950s. In 1995 JICA was using Brazilian technicians and installations to train people from developing countries in Latin America and Africa in industrial job training, community development, education, and so forth.
In mid-1995 the Socialist Republic of Vietnam signaled a desire for closer trade relations with Brazil, thus eliminating Thailand as middleman. President General Le Duc Anh visited Brazil and the Brazilian foreign minister visited Vietnam in the second half of 1995. Brazil's opening to Vietnam was made within the context of Brazil's general Southeast Asian strategy and its view that Vietnam may soon become an "Asian Tiger."
The United States was the first nation to establish a consulate in Brazil in 1808, following the transfer of the Portuguese royal court to Rio de Janeiro and the subsequent opening of the ports to foreign ships. However, it was not until after World War II that the United States became Brazil's number-one trading partner and foreign investor. After 1945 United States-Brazil relations took on five basic dimensions: promoting and protecting United States investments in and exports to Brazil; promoting Brazil's exports of primary goods or products (see Glossary) and supporting Brazil's industrialization policies; garnering Brazil's support for United States policy positions in the hemisphere and in other world forums; promoting Brazil's emergence as a middle-level world power in Latin America and the developing world; and showcasing Brazil's successful independent foreign policy and autonomous development strategy among its peers in the developing world.
During the presidency of Enrico Gaspar Dutra (1946-51), Brazil's foreign policy was aligned closely with that of the United States. Brazil outlawed the PCB (Brazilian Communist Party) in 1947 and broke off relations with the Soviet Union. Vargas's return to power in 1951 signaled a cooling of relations. Vargas blamed the United States for his ouster in 1945 and appealed to Brazilian nationalism, which was growing in many sectors, including the armed forces. The Korean War and the European recovery were then high United States priorities. Brazil was not at the time threatened by communism, and United States arms sale policies equated formerly pro-Axis Argentina with Brazil. Brazil's foreign policy of actively promoting its agricultural exports, whose terms of trade (see Glossary) were diminishing, ran counter to United States interests. The establishment of the Petrobrás oil monopoly in 1953 crowned these nationalist sentiments and was hailed as an economic declaration of independence from United States oil companies. These sentiments were further fanned by charges of United States involvement in Vargas's ouster and suicide in August 1954. His suicide note blamed "international economic and financial groups."
President Kubitschek (1956-61) improved relations with the United States, while strengthening relations with Latin America and Europe, and exploring market possibilities in Eastern Europe. His industrial development policy attracted huge direct investments by foreign capital, much from the United States. He proposed an ambitious plan for United States development aid to Latin America in 1958 (Operation Panamerica). The outgoing administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower found the plan of no interest, but the administration of President John F. Kennedy appropriated funds in 1961 for the Alliance for Progress (see Glossary).
Relations again cooled slightly after President Quadros announced his new independent foreign policy in January 1961. Quadros also made overtures to Cuba and decorated Cuban revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara with Brazil's highest honor.
Severe economic problems, political and economic nationalism, union populism, and strained relations with the United States frustrated President Goulart, eventually causing his overthrow in 1964. Before assuming the presidency, Goulart was known for having been a Vargas protégé and for being pro-Fidel Castro, procommunist, and antiforeign capital. However, during the first parliamentary period (September 1961 to February 1963) of his presidency, Goulart tried to maintain close relations with the United States by naming strongly pro-United States Roberto Campos as ambassador in Washington and Deputy Santiago Dantas as minister of foreign affairs. Nonetheless, certain domestic and foreign policy issues clouded this relationship. First, Goulart's brother-in-law, Leonel Brizola, then governor of Rio Grande do Sul, insisted on expropriation of foreign-owned public utilities (electric power and telephones), and nationalists in Congress pushed for zero or minimum compensation. Second, Brazil joined Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico in abstaining from a final vote on an OAS resolution expelling Cuba from that organization. Third, in August 1962, Congress approved a more restrictive law governing profit remittances, and new foreign investments dwindled to almost zero in early 1964.
In late 1963, Washington, alarmed that Brazil might become a hostile, nonaligned power like Egypt, reduced foreign aid to Brazil. The exact United States role in the March 31, 1964, military coup that overthrew Goulart remains controversial. However, the United States immediately recognized the new interim government (before Goulart had even fled Brazilian territory); a United States naval task force anchored close to the port of Vitória; the United States made an immediate large loan to the new Castelo Branco government (1964-67); and the new military president adopted a policy of total alignment with the United States.
The Castelo Branco regime broke off relations with Cuba (while enhancing them with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe); purged or exiled leftists and alleged communists; adopted a more discreet position in the UN vis-à-vis Portuguese colonialism; duly compensated expropriated foreign capital investments; passed a new profit remittances law; and sent a 1,200-man battalion as part of the Interamerican Peace Force to the Dominican Republic in 1965. Brazilian foreign policy centered on combating subversion and contributing to the collective security of the hemisphere. Brazil ranked third after Vietnam and India as recipients of United States aid; it received US$2 billion from 1964 to 1970. Nonetheless, Castelo Branco's all-out support for United States policies only served to increase anti-Americanism rather than to lessen it.
Divergence and some hostility characterized relations during the Costa e Silva period (1967-69). Brazil perceived that United States leadership in the global struggle was faltering because of the winding down in Vietnam, making it more difficult for Brazil to support United States positions in world forums. In 1969 the Richard M. Nixon administration assumed a low-profile policy with Latin America. Washington provided less economic aid and fewer arms shipments to Brazil and sharply reduced its military mission in Brazil (from 200 in 1968 to sixty in 1971).
Although Costa e Silva did not turn to economic nationalism and the climate for foreign investments remained generally favorable, Brazil asserted its independence in other ways. It withdrew support from the Interamerican Peace Force, declined to sign the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), tried to organize a Latin American nuclear community, assumed a leadership role in the nonaligned G-77, and increased Soviet-Brazilian trade. Nevertheless, Costa e Silva paid a state visit to Washington in 1967, and in 1969 Brazil sided with the United States against the nationalization of oil properties by the Peruvian military government.
The Médici and Geisel governments (1969-79) generally followed the same course of increasingly independent foreign policy combined with friendly relations with the United States. Brazil sought to pursue its own advantages by leaving open its nuclear options, greatly expanding trade with the Eastern Bloc, recognizing the Beijing government four years before the United States normalized relations with mainland China, and asserting a 322-kilometer maritime zone (always referred to by Brazilians as "200 miles") contrary to United States policy and fishing interests.
Brazil's policies emphasized North-South issues over the East-West conflict. Brazil took the lead in organizing commodity cartels (coffee, sugar, and cocoa). In 1975 Brazil voted for the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism and did not condemn the Soviet and Cuban intervention in Angola.
The Nixon administration remained basically sympathetic to Brazilian hopes for growth and world power status, and considered Brazil to be one of the developing world nations most sympathetic to the United States. In February 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antônio Azeredo da Silveira signed a memorandum of understanding that the two powers would consult on all issues of mutual concern and would hold semiannual meetings of foreign ministers. Brazil had signed similar agreements with Britain, France, and Italy in 1975. Only Brazil and Saudi Arabia, aside from the major Western allies, had such an agreement with the United States. Although these agreements had no great practical consequences, they indicated a changed United States policy of wooing Brazil.
The Carter administration marked a definite cooling of United States-Brazil relations. The confrontation involved two very sensitive issues--human rights and nuclear proliferation. In 1967 Brazil had signed a contract with Westinghouse to build a 626-megawatt nuclear power station at Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro State, to be completed in 1977. In 1973-74 the petroleum crisis jolted Brazil into a high-priority policy of seeking alternative energy sources (hydro, solar, alcohol, biogas, Bolivian natural gas, and nuclear). However, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission renounced its guarantee of delivery of enriched uranium, casting doubts on the value of nuclear cooperation with the United States, which had prohibited Westinghouse from constructing enrichment and reprocessing plants in Brazil.
Brazil, desiring independent control of the full cycle from ore to kilowatts, signed a broad nuclear agreement with West Germany in June 1975. It involved furnishing technology and equipment for eight nuclear power plants, plus enrichment and reprocessing facilities. Despite safeguard provisions, some thought this agreement opened the door for Brazil to construct nuclear weapons, if desired. The Ford administration reacted only mildly to the agreement, but from his first day in office, President Carter sought to prevent its implementation.
In 1975 the United States Congress mandated that the Department of State produce a general report on human rights performance by all recipients of United States military assistance. The section of the report dealing with Brazil noted some improvements and described violations as mildly as possible. This report might have gone unnoticed if the United States Embassy had not delivered a copy to the Foreign Office in Brasília just hours before its release in Washington. This gesture, intended as a courtesy, was interpreted as an intolerable interference in Brazil's internal affairs. The next day, Brazil renounced the United States-Brazil Military Assistance Agreement, which had been in effect since 1952, and some military nationalists pushed for breaking diplomatic relations. Formal relations between the two military organizations have still not been reestablished.
The Reagan administration made ostensible gestures to improve relations with Brazil. A former military attaché to Brazil during the 1964 coup, retired General Vernon Walters was dispatched to Brasília to express United States concern over the Cuban-supported guerrilla movement in El Salvador and to request support and assistance. Brazil listened politely, but then refused to join the military governments of Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile in support of the Salvadoran government. Moreover, it increased trade credits to Nicaragua and signed several large trade agreements with the Soviet Union.
In the early 1980s, tension in United States-Brazil relations centered on economic questions. Retaliation for unfair trade practices loomed on the horizon and threatened Brazilian exports of steel, orange juice, commuter aircraft, frozen chickens, shoes, and textiles. The United States criticized Brazil for its trade restrictions and unfair practices (in the area of pharmaceutical patents and restrictions on United States computer giants), and for its US$5 billion trade surplus with the United States. Brazil replied that it needed desperately to maintain large balance of payments surpluses to meet its foreign debt obligations.
When President Sarney took office in March 1985, political issues, such as Brazil's arms exports to Libya and Iran, again surfaced. Brazil's foreign debt moratorium and its refusal to sign the NPT caused the United States Congress to put Brazil on its mandated blacklist, thereby restricting Brazil's access to certain United States technologies (see Nuclear Programs, ch. 6). On taking office in March 1990, President Collor sought a quick rapprochement with the United States in order to begin an aggressive policy of inserting Brazil into the world economy and placing it at the negotiating table of world powers. Collor concluded a nonproliferation agreement with Argentina, which was registered with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. He moved to deactivate Brazil's autonomous nuclear project and the nuclear submarine project, as well as the air-to-air Piranha missile project. He also gained congressional approval for eliminating the market reserve on computer products and beginning tariff reductions. Collor abolished the National Intelligence Service (Serviço Nacional de Informações--SNI) and the National Security Council (CSN), and fashioned a Strategic Affairs Secretariat (Secretaria de Assuntos Estratégicos--SAE) with a civilian head. However, after a year in office the Collor government concluded that these overtures had been in vain. Reciprocity by the United States was not forthcoming, and Brazilian policies reverted to a more pragmatic, independent approach.
The Franco administration maintained an even more independent stance and reacted coolly to proposals by the Clinton administration for a Latin American free-trade zone. Brazil pushed ahead with its Satellite Launch Vehicle (Veículo Lançador de Satélite--VLS) program, based in Alcântara, Maranhão. Because Brazil wants to participate in the very lucrative satellite launching market, it had consistently refused, until October 1995, to sign the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime), which it believed restricted developing nations from attaining access to this technology. In June 1995, the Israeli military attaché in Brasília denounced Brazil for continuing sales of Astros II surface-to-surface missile launchers and heavy bombs to Libya, despite UN embargoes. In October 1995, after continuous pressure from the United States, Brazil finally met the conditions to join the MTCR and was accepted as a member. Brazil joined the MTCR because it was necessary to gain access to crucial rocket technology to finalize the VLS IV and to ensure that it would become operational in 1997.
Relations with the Cardoso government in 1995-97 were good. Cardoso made a very successful trip to Washington and New York in April 1995, and the Clinton administration was very enthusiastic regarding the passage of constitutional amendments that open the Brazilian economy to increased international participation. The United States was especially pleased with the break-up of state monopolies in the petroleum and telecommunications sectors. However, the United States called for increased efforts to stem international drug smuggling across Brazil's territory from Andean neighbors, and better coordination between the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Brazilian authorities. In April 1995, Brasília and Washington signed a new cooperation agreement.
Related to the problem of surveillance of drug smuggling across the Amazon region was the controversial Amazon Region Surveillance System (Sistema de Vigilância da Amazônia--Sivam) contract. In the 1970s and 1980s, Brazil had installed three air surveillance and traffic control systems in the South (Sul), Southeast, and Northeast, purchased from Thomson CSF, the French electronics manufacturer. In the 1990s, several international consortiums, including Thomson CSF, hotly contested the proposed Sivam contract (worth US$1.5 billion). A timely visit by United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown in June 1994 heavily influenced the decision, and two days after his departure, the Brazilian government decided in favor of a consortium led by the American firm Raytheon, instead of Thomson CSF. United States incentives included very favorable Export-Import Bank financing and assurance that Raytheon would participate in the privatization of the Brazilian Aeronautics Company (Empresa Brasileira Aeronáutica--Embraer), which never happened.
In 1995, before the final signing of the contracts with Raytheon, Brazil's Congress, under pressure from environmental groups and the governors of the Amazon region, decided to review the decision process and contract details. Under intense pressure from the United States Embassy in Brasília, however, the Brazilian Senate and Chamber of Deputies finally approved the plan in May 1995, over protests from the governors from the Amazon region.
In response to United States criticism over its unfair trade practices and its failure to protect intellectual property rights, Brazil finally signed a new patent protection law in March 1996. The new law includes protection for pharmaceutical patents and contains a "pipeline" mechanism. The United States also looks to Brazil to fulfill its longstanding commitments to enact legislation on computer software and semiconductor layout design, and to introduce amendments to its copyright laws.
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