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Author: Ieda Siquiera Wiarda, from Latin American Politics and Development (6th edition), editors Wiarda and Kline – notes are from this chapter unless otherwise noted

Additional notes from Skidmore and Smith, Modern Latin America (6th edition), ch.5 “Brazil: Development for Whom?” – notes from this chapter marked with SS – and from Santiso’s “Lula Light” ch. 5 in Latin America’s Political Economy of the Possible

Questions of development:

  • “A Country of the Future – Where the Future Never Arrives”
  • “Disorders of Progress”, rather than “Order and Progress” (127)
  • — Santiso (ch.5 Lula Light) suggests a different reading of “Order and Progress,” stating that it “combines the will to project intot he future with imposing present order upon that projection, to frame it rationally” (137)

Geography notes:

  • Brazil covers nearly half of South America; fifth largest country in the world
  • high degree of cultural integration within country
  • most citizens live on 10 percent of land (129)
  • geographic zones: North (legendary wealth and potential, mostly Amazon), Northeast (droughts and hardship, far from center of power), Southeast (43% of population, contributes more than 60% of country’s GNP), South (haven for separatist ideals; many European immigrants), West Central (agribusiness) (130-131)
  • population groups – indigenous Indians, Portuguese, Africans and various European, Middle Easter and Asian immigrants (137)
Historical notes:
  • Brazil owes its independence to the fact that Napoleon’s army invaded Portugal; royal court moves to Brazil and enjoys it greatly, leaves son Pedro I in Brazil, Dom Pedro proclaims independence and becomes first monarch (not divisive war of independence) (133-134)
  • war with Paraguay 1864-1870; Paraguay ruined because of war for decades; doubts about war in Brazil lead to an overthrow of the monarchy (135)
  • Republic of Brazil proclaimed on November 15, 1889 (135)
  • republic emerges as oligarchic rule (139) – landed interests most powerful
  • Great Depression really hurts economy due to dependence on exports
  • presidential candidate usually alternates between Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais – this was not done by incumbent president from Sao Paulo, Vargas (from Minas Gerais) feels deprived of victory and takes capital with a minimum of force
  • Vargas: corporatist model of Estado Novo, later brand of populism – “father of the poor” (140)
  • between 1930 and 1945, powers centralized, censorship imposed and no convening of the legislative assembly, social security system formed, nationalizations of economic institutions and natural resources
  • Brazil joins Allied side in 1942
  • demands for freer system, military officers usher out Vargas, Dutra becomes new president
  • 1946 new constitution – guarantees civil liberties and free elections but keeps centralization
  • charges of corruption – one of Dutra’s aides involved in assassination attempt of opposition journalist but air force major killed instead; Vargas commits suicide (avoiding possible coup) (141)
  • Vargas back in power in 1950 after being popularly elected
  • 1955 Kubitshek; Joao Goulart VP (minister of labor under Vargas) – “fifty years of progress in five”; lots of public works projects, new universities, major highways and airports, moves capital inward to Brasilia – all of these things important for modern state but pushed too quickly, resulting in large debt
  • Quadros – reforms exchange controls, ends consumer subsidies and curtails printing of money but this hurts poor so his basis of support disappears – he resigns abruptly, leaving Joao Goulart to assume presidency (142)
  • Goulart in China when this happens; before he returns, prime minister position created to share power with President (Goulart eventually undoes this); Goulart populist and demagogic (143); allows many strikes, economic policies create more inflation; Goulart sides with mutinous members of military
  • a note on labor from Skidmore/Smith (SS 171): “The populist policies of Getulio Vargas had created institutions for organizing urban workers.  This posed a significant but ultimately acceptable challenge to the upper and middle classes, the latter represented largely by the military.  But in 1964 Goulart presented, or appeared to present, a much more fundamental threat.  By mobilizing peasants as well as workers, ad by using radical rhetoric, he seemed to be creating the conditions for a class-wide worker-peasant alliance against the socioeconomic establishment.  Both the suddenness and and the simultaneity of these movements startled and alarmed elites.  A classwide coalition was simply not acceptable.  The military exercised its longstanding veto power and went on to create a bureaucratic-authoritarian regime.”
  • bloodless takeover by military (poder moderador – ensure “order and progress” as well as discipline)
  • Branco sees himself as transition to civilian president but hard-liners see a long period of apolitical government as necessary
  • political parties abolished and two political organization (National Renovating Alliance and opposition, Brazilian Democratic Movement) created (144)
  • oil shock of 1973 leads to abertura – opening toward the eventual resuming of democracy (144)
  • for details on political parties, see 145
  • Neves consolidates various groups that want to replace military with democracy
  • Sarney – oppositino from the left (added to Neves’ ticket last minute to appeal to those who had supported the military originally but were now “jumping onto the civilian bandwagon) short-term economic successes like Cruzado Plan (146)
  • inflation becoming larger and larger issue: 1,800 percent in 1989 (socialist and populist candidates becoming more popular)
  • Collor – ambitious neoliberal reforms, Earth Summit of 1992, eventually enmeshed in corruption and favoritism and impeached in 1992, replaced by Franco (inflation 2490 percent by 1993 – SS177), Cardoso finance minister for Franco – gets hyperinflation under control in two years
  • for info on the Catholic Church, see 150-151
  • Brazil a member of many treaties and various international bodies, charter member of UN (for more see 157-159)
  • for info on Brazil’s relationship with the US, see 159
  • Cordoso – Brazil joins MERCOSUR, known for following IMF suggestions to the tee (second term: capital flight slows but at the cost of economic growth, float the real, speculative crisis in 1998-99) (SS 178)
  • Lula – 2002 “Um pais de todos, chooses orthodox figures for important economic policy positions
  • challenges for Lula (SS 180): continuing credit crisis, get economy growing again, attack country’s huge deficit in health care education, and housing
  • Skidmore and Smith describe Lula’s policies as, “a mixture of Trotskyists, advocates of liberation theology, government bureaucrats, and middle-class progressives” (SS 179-180)
  • military as poder moderador (moderating power) (139)
  • fragmentary nature of political parties, hard to maintain own support base
  • large number of interest groups in politics – labor particularly strong (1980 metalworkers in Sao Paulo shut down automobile industry there for 3 weeks, Lula (their leader) jailed); Workers’ party (PT) strongest opposition of the government as it pushes for state-led economic development (149)
  • president holds great deal of power – he chooses and heads a cabinet, coordinates actions of all ministries (153)
  • 5% of population owns half of arable land (high inequality)
  • lots of red tape (papelada) – strong presence of a bureaucratic maze, leads to systematic inefficiencies and importance of personal and political linkages (over merit and efficiency) (154)
  • corruption ever present as well (see previous blog entry on resigned ministers under Dilma’s administration)
  • inadequate health and educational institutions
Trends (From Skidmore and Smith- Brazil: Development for Whom?)
  • export economies, boom and bust pattern: sugar (18th century), rubber (early 19th century), coffee
  • coffee production difficult because must plant trees 6 yrs in advance (hard to predict demand 6 years ahead of time)
  • crash of 1929 prompts industrialization – heavy industries such as steel and automobile production (by 1960 industrial production was up to more than 25% of GDP), resulting surge in urbanization
  • era of populism (1930-1964): “economic nationalism, state-guided modernization, import subsititution and trade policies” (Santiso, 118)
  • late 1960s, early 1970s, manufactured goods replace coffee as leading export; deemed “Brazilian Miracle”
  • organized working class up to 6 million in the 1980s; middle class has close relations to military
  • economic stabilization efforts in 1953-54, 1955-56, 1958-59, 1961, the Cruzado Plan of 1986, the Bresser Plan of 1987, the summer plan of 1989, the Collor Plans of 1991 and 1992 (Santiso, 117) and the Plano Real of 1994; stabilization programs always mean falling real wages, reduction of government deficit, painful reductions in credit (SS 169)

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