Brazil Early History and Discover Term Paper

Pages: 15 (4442 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 40  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
Coffee and rubber reached peaking heights towards the end of the 19th century. The bustling rubber in the Amazon region somehow suffered some wound and a halt with the establishment of rubber plantations in Southeast Asia after 1912.

Brazil joined the Allies in World War I and in the peace settlement but withdrew from the League of Nations in 1926. A coup in 1930 put Getalio Vargas into power who took the country's disadvantageous economic dependence on the coffee industry seriously. He changed the constitution into a corporative type of government, which forced the development of other basic industries towards a diversified kind of agriculture. Although this centralized government was viewed as somewhat dictatorial and invited opposition, it also hinted at a new nationalistic consciousness. Despite World War II, Brazil's economic growth continued to rise, especially in the rubber and mineral industrial sector.

With well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors, Brazil had and still has one of the world's largest economies, although wealth was poorly distributed.

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There were wide gaps between. About a third of the workforce was in agriculture, predominantly coffee. Brazil is the world's producer and exporter of this product, oranges -- of which it is a major exporter -, soybeans, sugarcane, rice, corn, cocoa, cotton, tobacco and bananas. The country is also blessed with much cattle, pigs and sheep among the livestock and timber, although much of it was illegally felled. Its mineral wealth included ore -- of which Brazil is the largest producer -, quartz, chrome, ore, manganese, industrial diamonds, gem stones, gold, nickel, tin, bauxite, uranium and platinum. Its major manufacturing enterprises produce textiles, chemicals, shoes, food products, steel, motor vehicles, ships, and machinery. Most of the country's electricity is derived from water power with further potentials, particularly from the Amazon basin.

Term Paper on Brazil Early History and Discover Assignment

The rest of Brazil's exports included iron and steel, orange juice concentrates, soybeans, beef, tropical hardwood, and footwear.

On the other hand Brazil imports crude oil, manufactured goods and chemical products, mostly with the European Union member countries, the U.S., Argentina, and Japan. It is a member of the Southern Cone Common Market.

In 1945, the army forced Vargas to resign and General Eurico Gaspar Dutra was elected president. Under his presidency, Brazil's economy sagged because of inflation and Vargas was restored to the presidency in 1950 by the Brazilians in the hope of his reversing economic conditions. But economic instability and political dissension persisted in his incumbency and led him to commit suicide.

As the elected president in 1955, Juscelino Kubitschek rebuilt Brazil and constructed highways and dams, yet inflation persisted. Brasilia became the official capital on April 21, 1960, the year when Junio da Silva Quadros was elected president with the greatest popularity in Brazil's history. But his autocratic and unpredictable governing style met with huge opposition and dented his reform objectives, which compelled him to resign within seven months. His successor was Vice President Jolio Goular, whose leftist administration produced political divisions and immense chaos until he was deposed by a military insurrection in 1964. Congress seated Gen. Castelo Branco to finish Goular's term, removed Goular's leftist comrades and extended the new President's power to dissolve all political powers.

Under these conditions, a new Constitution was adopted with Marshall Costa e Silva as the new president to succeed Castelo Branco. Costa e Silva put Congress to a recess in 1968 and assumed a one-man rule. The following year, General Emilio Garrastaza Madici replaced him and there was terrorism became a common feature of Brazilian life.

Guerrilla attacks were countered with massive torture and death squads, the onslaught of violence characterizing the mid-70s. When General Ernesto Geisel took over the presidency from Madici, Brazil plunged into debts and became the world's largest debtor. He dissolved Congress in 1977 and established constitutional and electoral reforms and repealed all emergency laws in 1978. The monumental change came under the rule of his successor, General Joalo Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo from 1979-1985. The wheels of industries and industrial development began turning again and the overall political direction was towards democracy. However, economic and social tensions persisted and the military government remained until replaced by a civilian form under Jose Sarney in 1985. Under Sarney's government, illiterates were allowed to vote. His reforms gained a measure of success but uncontrolled inflation produced expected anti-government actions.

A new Constitution in 1988 reduced working schedule per week, provided for freedom of assembly, and the right to strike. Two years later, Brazilians elected a popular candidate as president, Fernando Collor de Mello.

During his incumbency, Collor was subjected to increasing international pressure to contain and decrease deforestation in the Amazon's rain forests and to recognize the autonomy of the indigenous Yanomami. In 1992, Collor was impeached by the Congress of Brazil on account of staggering corruption in his government, the first elected president to be subjected to removal from office. Collor, however, resigned before his trial could begin and his vice president Itamar Augusto Franco functioned as temporary president. Two years later, the Supreme Court cleared Collor of corruption charges but was barred from public office until 2001.

In the mid-80s, more than 1000 were killed on account of land conflicts.

Critics say that Brazil had one of the worst land distribution schemes in the world, where 1% of rural properties representing 47% of agricultural land and 62% of thee large ranches were unproductive, while 4.8 million farmers had no access to those lands. In reaction to the situation, these workers banded themselves together into the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra or MST, otherwise known as the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement. It evolved into the largest social movement in all of Latin America since its formation in the early 80s. The MST provided the much-needed pressure on the government to distribute land titles to around 150,000 landless families. At present, MST lends support to the efforts of more than 57,000 families occupying uncultivated land in 23 states in Brazil. These families lived in 30 or so camps, hoping for their land titles from the government. They based their position on the pertinent provision of the Constitution, which states that unproductive land can be expropriated for agrarian reform.

When the government was unwilling to bend, these workers encamped themselves on those properties as their way of negotiating for their expropriation rights. Reports said that, in many cases, large ranchers or latifudiarios and the police came into the scene and dispersed these encamped workers and their families. One extreme case was the alleged massacre of El Dorado dos Carajas. During this incident on April 17, 1996, Brazilian military police killed 18 rural workers as the latter peacefully marched in the state of Para.

There was reportedly a precedence a year earlier when the police entered the Corumbiara area at 4 in the morning and killed 11 of the 2,300 peasant sleeping, one of whom was a seven-year-old girl who was shot in the back.

In January 1996, Cardoso signed a presidential decree, which allowed non-Native Americans to appeal decisions made by the Indian Affairs Bureau on land allocations. It allowed or favored regional governments, private enterprises and persons to challenge these workers or indigenous people's claims to certain lands, particularly those in the Amazon region of northern Brazil. This government decree received stiff condemnations from human rights advocates and Native American, civic and religious organizations around the world.

The MST would later report that human rights violations were confined to select people in the movement.

Large land owners formed militia groups, called "security companies," to perform the task of exterminating these activist leaders. The Latin American Alliance of Peasant Organization, as a consequence, chose April 17 as its International Day during its second congress held in November 1997. An MST representative, Daniel Correa, organized demonstrations a speaking tour in the main centers of the U.S. To raise American awareness of the distresses of his countrymen. This was triggered by the murder of two important MST leaders in the state of Para who were then negotiating for the return of 550 displaced families from the ranch Goias II.

It was Fernando Henrique Cardoso's turn to be president and assumed the position officially in January 1995. His government decreased economic controls and privatized government-owned telecommunications, oil, mining, and electricity enterprises.

With a new and stable currency, he was able to put inflation under control and signed decrees that new lands from private estates to the landless poor. He got re-elected in 1998 but soon confronted budget deficits and a decline foreign exchange reserve that devalued the new currency and increased interest rates. He sought the help of the International Monetary Fund or IMF, which granted Brazil a $42-billion aid. Through this aid, the Brazilian government imposed strict economic policies, which won back investor confidence in mid-1999 and restored the country's previous economic growth rate and status. In May 2000, he signed a law that would limit spending by the states.

Corruption scandals rocked the governing coalition… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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