U.S. Department of State 
Background Notes: Brazil, March 1998 
Released by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. 


Official Name: Federative Republic of Brazil 


PROFILE 

Geography

Area: 8,511,965 sq. km. (3,290,000 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than the 
U.S.
Cities: Capital--Brasilia (pop. 1.8 million). Other cities--Sao Paulo 
(11 million), Rio de Janeiro (6 million), Belo Horizonte (2.3 million), 
Salvador (2 million), Fortaleza (1.8 million), Recife (1.4 million), 
Porto Alegre (1.4 million), Curitiba (1.4 million).
Terrain: Dense forests in northern regions including Amazon Basin; 
semiarid along northeast coast; mountains, hills, and rolling plains in 
the southwest including Mato Grosso; and coastal lowland. 
Climate: Mostly tropical or semitropical with temperate zone in the 
south. 

People 

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Brazilian(s).
Population (1996): 160 million. 
Annual growth rate: 1.7%. 
Ethnic groups: Portuguese, Italian, German, Japanese, African, 
indigenous people.
Religion: Roman Catholic (80%).
Language: Portuguese.
Education: Literacy--81% of adult population.
Health: Infant mortality rate--44/1,000. Life expectancy--67 yrs. 
Work force (65 million): Services--40%. Agriculture--35%. Industry--25%. 

Government 

Type: Federative republic.
Independence: September 7, 1822.
Constitution: Promulgated October 5, 1988.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state and head of government 
popularly elected to no more than two 4-year terms). Legislative--Senate 
(81 members popularly elected to 8-year terms), Chamber of Deputies (513 
members popularly elected to 4-year terms). Judicial--Supreme Federal 
Tribunal.
Political parties: Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), Brazilian 
Social Democratic Party (PSDB), Liberal Front Party (PFL), Social 
Democratic Party (PSD), Democratic Workers Party (PDT), Workers Party 
(PT), Brazilian Labor Party (PTB), Liberal Party (PL), Brazilian 
Socialist Party (PSB), Communist Party of Brazil (PC do B), Brazilian 
Progressive Party (PPB), Popular Socialist Party (PPS), Green Party 
(PV), The Social Liberal Party (PSL), The National Mobilization Party 
(PMN). 

Economy (1997) 

GDP: $806 billion.
Annual real growth rate: 3.0%.
Per capita GDP (1996): $4,900.
Natural resources: Iron ore, manganese, bauxite, nickel, uranium, 
gemstones, oil, wood.
Agriculture (13% of GDP): Products--coffee, soybeans, sugarcane, cocoa, 
rice, beef, corn, oranges, cotton, wheat.
Industry (33% of GDP): Types--steel, chemicals, petrochemicals, 
machinery, motor vehicles,
consumer durables, cement, lumber.
Trade: Exports--$53 billion. Major markets--United States 18%, Argentina 
13%, Netherlands 8%, Japan 6%, Germany 5%, Italy 3%, France 2%. Imports-
-$61 billion. Major suppliers--United States 23%, Argentina 13%, Germany 
8%, Italy 6%, Japan 6%.
Official exchange rate: 1.08 Reais=U.S.$1 (average), 1.12 Reais=U.S.$1 
(end-of-year). 

U.S.-BRAZILIAN RELATIONS 

The United States was the first country to recognize Brazil's 
independence in 1822. The two countries have traditionally enjoyed 
friendly, active relations encompassing a broad political and economic 
agenda. 

With the inauguration of Brazil's internationally oriented, reformist 
President Fernando Henrique Cardoso on January 1, 1995, U.S.-Brazil 
engagement and cooperation have intensified. This is reflected in the 
unprecedented number of high-level contacts between the two governments, 
including President Cardoso's state visit to Washington in April 1995, 
visits to Brazil by President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, 
Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher, the late 
Secretary of Commerce Ronald Brown, current Secretary of Commerce 
William Daley, and many other exchanges between U.S. and Brazilian 
cabinet and sub-cabinet officials. Important topics of discussion and 
cooperation have included trade and finance, hemispheric economic 
integration, United Nations reform and peacekeeping efforts, 
nonproliferation and arms control, follow-up to the 1994 Miami Summit of 
the Americas, common efforts to help resolve the Peru-Ecuador border 
conflict, support for Paraguay's democratic development, human rights, 
counternarcotics, and environmental issues.

During President Clinton's October 1997 visit to Brazil, several 
agreements were signed, including: an Education Partnership Agreement, 
which enhances and expands cooperative initiatives in such areas as 
standards-based education reform, use of technology, and professional 
development of teachers; a Mutual Legal Assistance treaty; as well as 
agreements on cooperation in energy, the international space station, 
national parks, and government reform. There have been other recent 
agreements with Brazil: a new agreement for cooperation in 
counternarcotics signed in March 1995; an agreement signed in March 1998 
to end Brazil's automotive investment incentive program earlier than 
scheduled; and a national drug control plan drafted. During a visit of 
former Under Secretary of State Timothy Wirth to Brazil in October 1995, 
the two countries signed a Common Agenda on the Environment, laying the 
foundation for cooperative efforts in environmental protection.

Former U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor and Brazilian Foreign 
Minister Lampreia submitted a joint report to Presidents Clinton and 
Cardoso on the U.S.-Brazil Bilateral Trade Review, completed October 25, 
1995. The Bilateral Trade Review lays the groundwork for closer 
cooperation in resolving bilateral trade issues as well as in joint 
efforts to advance progress toward a Free Trade Area of the Americas 
(FTAA) and to develop closer ties between NAFTA and Mercosul, the Common 
Market of the South. Brazil is a key player in hemispheric efforts to 
negotiate an FTAA by 2005, and hosted the May 1997 FTAA Trade 
Ministerial in Belo Horizonte.

President Cardoso is the first Brazilian president to discuss race 
relations frankly. He instituted an Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Race 
in 1995 and strengthened the mandate of the government-funded Palmares 
Foundation, dedicated to the promotion of Afro-Brazilian heritage. U.S. 
Embassy public diplomacy programs seek to support these efforts, which 
mirror President Clinton's National Dialogue on Race. 

Relations are advancing well in various aspects of scientific and 
technical work as well. During his 1996 visit, former Secretary of State 
Christopher signed a Space Cooperation agreement and initialed an 
agreement on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. 

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Ambassador--Melvyn Levitsky
Deputy Chief of Mission--James Derham
Defense Attache--Col. Layton Dunbar, U.S. Army
Economic Counselor--John H. Lewis
Commercial Counselor--Miguel Pardo de Zela (resident in Sao Paulo) 
Political Counselor--John Caswell
Science Counselor--Xenia Wilkinson
Public Affairs Counselor (USIS)--John Dwyer
Consul General in Sao Paulo--Gwen Clare
Consul General in Rio de Janeiro--Cristobal Orozco
Consul in Recife--Earl Irving 

The U.S. Embassy in Brasilia is located at SES Avenida das Nacoes, 
quadra 801, lote 3, Brasilia, DF, CEP: 70.403-900 (tel. 55-61-321-7272), 
(fax 55-61-321-2833). Internet: http://www.embaixada-americana.org.br/

There are U.S. consulates general in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and a 
consulate in Recife. Consular agents are located in Manaus, Belem, 
Salvador, Fortaleza, and Porto Alegre. Branch offices of the U.S. 
Information Service (USIS) are located in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and 
Sao Paulo. Branch offices of the U.S. Foreign Commercial Services are 
located in Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte. 

U.S. Embassy and Consulate Functions 

In addition to working closely with Brazilian Government officials to 
strengthen our bilateral relationship, the U.S. embassy and consulates 
in Brazil provide a wide range of services to U.S. citizens and 
business. Political, economic, and science officers deal directly with 
the Brazilian Government in advancing U.S. interests, but are also 
available to provide information to U.S. citizens on general conditions 
in the country. Attaches from the U.S. Commercial Service and Foreign 
Agriculture Service work closely with hundreds of U.S. companies which 
maintain offices in Brazil. These officers provide information on 
Brazilian trade and industry regulations and administer several programs 
to aid U.S. companies starting or maintaining business ventures in 
Brazil. The number of trade events and U.S. companies traveling to 
Brazil to participate in U.S. Commercial Service and Foreign Agriculture 
Service programs over the last three years has tripled. 

The consular section of the embassy provides vital services to the 
estimated 50,000 U.S. citizens residing in Brazil. Among other services, 
the consular section assists Americans who wish to participate in U.S. 
elections while abroad and provides U.S. tax information. Besides the 
U.S. residents living in Brazil, some 150,000 U.S. citizens visit 
annually. The consular section offers passport and emergency services to 
U.S. tourists as needed during their stay in Brazil. 

ECONOMY 

Brazil is the eighth-largest economy in the world, with 1997 GDP over 
$800 billion. It is a highly diversified economy with wide variations in 
levels of development. Most large industry is concentrated in the south 
and southeast. Although traditionally the poorest part of Brazil, the 
northeast is beginning to attract new investment.

Brazil embarked on its most successful economic stabilization program, 
the Plano Real (named for the new currency, the real; plural: reais) in 
July 1994.

Inflation--which had reached an annual level of nearly 5000% at the end 
of 1993--has since dropped to its lowest level in over 40 years and is 
expected to be less than 5% in 1998. Brazil has accomplished this 
through a combination of a strong exchange rate, tight monetary 
policies, trade liberalization, and privatization.

In addition, the Cardoso Administration has introduced to Congress a 
series of constitutional reform proposals to replace a state-dominated 
economy with a market-oriented one and to restructure all levels of 
government on a financially sound basis. Congress has approved 
amendments to open the economy to greater private sector participation, 
including foreign investors. Reforms to bring order to government fiscal 
accounts have made less progress--because of their greater political 
sensitivity--but remain under consideration by the Congress. The 
Administration places great importance on these fiscal reforms for 
sustainable long-term growth. The Plano Real has raised the income of 
poor Brazilians, but Brazil continues to have one of the world's most 
inequitable distributions of income. The administration has acknowledged 
the need to invest more in education and health to redress this 
inequity. 

Market liberalization and economic stabilization have significantly 
enhanced Brazil's growth prospects. Brazil's trade has almost doubled 
since 1990, from $50 billion to an estimated $114 billion in 1997. The 
United States represents about 20% of that trade, and ran trade 
surpluses in 1995, 1996, and 1997 after many years of deficits with 
Brazil. Foreign direct investment has increased from less than $1 
billion in 1993 to an estimated $17 billion in 1997. The United States 
is the largest foreign investor in Brazil, accounting for almost $20 
billion, or 34% of total foreign investment. Ongoing and upcoming 
privatization in the telecommunication, energy, and mining sectors of 
Brazil planned for 1998 and 1999 is of major interest to U.S. companies. 

Brazil responded quickly and decisively to the Asian financial crisis in 
October 1997, which brought strong pressure to bear on the domestic 
currency. These actions included a near doubling of interest rates, 
maintenance of an exchange rate policy in the face of large capital 
outflows, and Congressional approval of a fiscal package aimed at saving 
$18 billion in 1998, 2.5% of GDP. Financial markets responded positively 
to these measures and capital inflows, including direct investment, 
increased strongly. By March 1998, international reserves recovered to 
their pre-crisis level of $62 billion. 

Brazil is endowed with vast agricultural resources. There are basically 
two distinct agricultural areas. The first, comprised of the southern 
one-half to two-thirds of the country, has a semi-temperate climate and 
higher rainfall, the better soils, higher technology and input use, 
reasonable infrastructure, and more experienced farmers. It produces 
most of Brazil's grains and oilseeds and export crops. The other, 
located in the drought-ridden northeast region and in the Amazon basin, 
lacks well-distributed rainfall, good soil, adequate infrastructure, or 
sufficient development capital. Although producing mostly for self-
sufficiency, the latter regions are becoming increasingly important in 
exports of forest products, cocoa, and tropical fruits. Central Brazil 
contains substantial areas of grassland with only scattered trees. The 
Brazilian grasslands are less fertile than those of North America and 
are generally more suited for grazing. 

Brazilian agriculture is well diversified, and the country is largely 
self-sufficient in food. Agriculture accounts for 13% of the country's 
GDP, and employs about one-quarter of the labor force in more than six 
million agricultural enterprises. Brazil is the world's largest producer 
of sugarcane and coffee, and a net exporter of cocoa, soybeans, orange 
juice, tobacco, forest products, and other tropical fruits and nuts. 
Livestock production is very important in many sections of the country, 
with a large increase in the poultry, pork, and milk industries due 
mainly to demand changes. On a value basis, production is 60% field crop 
and 40% livestock.

Brazil is a net exporter of agricultural and food products, which 
account for about 35% of the country's exports. In 1996, farm and food 
exports totaled $17 billion. Record levels of imports amounted to nearly 
$8 billion. In 1994 and 1995, agricultural exports were hurt by the 
sharp appreciation of the Brazilian real, lack of export financing, and 
high taxes and port costs. On the other hand, agricultural and food 
imports grew substantially during this period as a result of production 
shortfalls, lower prices due to import liberalization and a strong 
currency, and increased consumer demand. In the long run, however, the 
annual growth of agricultural imports is expected to be more moderate in 
the future.

Half of Brazil is covered by forests, with the largest rain forest in 
the world located in the Amazon Basin. Recent migrations into the Amazon 
and large-scale burning of forest areas have placed the international 
spotlight on Brazil. The government has reduced incentives for such 
activity and is beginning to implement an ambitious environmental plan, 
and has just adopted an Environmental Crimes Law that requires serious 
penalties for infractions. 

Brazil has one of the most advanced industrial sectors in Latin America. 
Accounting for one-third of GDP, Brazil's diverse industries range from 
automobiles, steel, and petrochemicals, to computers, aircraft, and 
consumer durables. With the increased economic stability provided by the 
Plano Real, Brazilian firms and multinationals have invested hundreds of 
millions of dollars in new equipment and technology, a large share of 
which has been purchased from U.S. firms. However, the country's power, 
transportation, and communications systems--particularly outside the 
more developed southern states--suffer from lack of investment and poor 
maintenance. The privatizations of the telecommunication, energy, and 
transportation sectors are expected to ameliorate these infrastructure 
problems.

Brazil has a diverse and sophisticated services industry as well. During 
the early 1990s, the banking sector accounted for as much as 16% of GDP. 
Although undergoing a major overhaul, Brazil's financial services 
industry provides local firms a wide range of products and is attracting 
numerous new entrants, including U.S. financial firms. The Sao Paulo and 
Rio de Janeiro stock exchanges have been among the fastest growing in 
the world in the last two years. 

The Brazilian Government has undertaken an ambitious program to reduce 
dependence on imported oil. Imports previously accounted for more than 
70% of the country's oil needs but now account for less than 50%. Brazil 
is one of the world's leading producers of hydroelectric power, with a 
potential of 106,500 megawatts.

Existing hydroelectric power provides 90% of the nation's electricity. 
Two large hydroelectrical projects, the 12,600 megawatt Itaipu Dam on 
the Parana River--the world's largest dam--and the Tucurui Dam in Para 
in northern Brazil, are in operation. 

Brazil's first commercial nuclear reactor, Angra I, located near Rio de 
Janeiro, has been in operation for more than 10 years. Angra II is under 
construction, and Angra III is planned. The three reactors would have 
combined capacity of 3,000 megawatts when completed. 

Proven mineral resources are extensive. Large iron and manganese 
reserves are important sources of industrial raw materials and export 
earnings. Deposits of nickel, tin, chromite, bauxite, beryllium, copper, 
lead, tungsten, zinc, gold, and other minerals are exploited. High-
quality coking-grade coal required in the steel industry is in short 
supply. 

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS 

Brazil is a federal republic with 26 states and a federal district. The 
1988 constitution grants broad powers to the federal government, made up 
of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president holds 
office for four years, with the right to re-election for an additional 
four-year term, and appoints his own cabinet. There are 81 senators, 
three for each state and the Federal District, and 513 deputies. Senate 
terms are for eight years, with election staggered so that two-thirds of 
the upper house is up for election at one time and one-third four years 
later. Chamber terms are for four years, with elections based on a 
complex system of proportional representation by states. Each state is 
eligible for a minimum of 8 seats; the largest state delegation (Sao 
Paulo's) is capped at 70 seats. The result is a system weighted in favor 
of geographically large but sparsely populated states. 

Fifteen political parties are represented in Congress. Since it is 
common for politicians to switch parties, the proportion of 
congressional seats held by particular parties changes regularly. The 
following are the major ones, in order of the size of their 
congressional delegations: 

PFL--Liberal Front Party (center-right)
PMDB--Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (center)
PSDB--Brazilian Social Democratic Party (center-left)
PPB--Brazilian Progressive Party (center-right)
PT--Workers Party (left)
PDT--Democratic Labor Party (left)
PTB--Brazilian Labor Party (center-right)
PSB--Brazilian Socialist Party (left)
PCdoB--Communist Party of Brazil (left)
PL--Liberal Party (center-right) 

President Cardoso was elected with the support of a heterodox alliance 
of his own center-left Social Democratic Party, the PSDB, and two 
center-right parties, the Liberal Front Party (PFL) and the Brazilian 
Labor Party (PTB). Brazil's largest party, the centrist Brazilian 
Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), joined Cardoso's governing coalition 
after the election, as did the center-right PPB, the Brazilian 
Progressive Party, in 1996, after its formation from three conservative 
parties the previous year. Federal deputies and senators who belong to 
the parties comprising the government coalition do not always vote with 
the government. As a result, President Cardoso has had difficulty, at 
times, gaining sufficient support for some of his legislative 
priorities, despite the fact that his coalition parties hold an 
overwhelming majority of congressional seats. Nevertheless, as the 
Cardoso Administration ends its fourth year, it has accomplished many of 
its legislative and reform objectives.

States are organized like the federal government, with three government 
branches. Because of the mandatory revenue allocation to states and 
municipalities provided for in the 1988 Constitution, Brazilian 
governors and mayors have exercised considerable power since 1989.

Presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial elections last took place 
in October 1994. Fernando Henrique Cardoso won the presidential election 
with approximately 54% of the vote, while his closest challenger, Luiz 
Inacio Lula da Silva (PT), had about 27%. Elections for the nation's 
mayors were held in October and November 1996. The next national 
elections will be held October 4, 1998. 

FOREIGN RELATIONS 

Traditionally, Brazil has been a leader in the inter-American community 
and has played an important role in collective security efforts as well 
as in economic cooperation in the Western Hemisphere. Brazil aligned 
with the allies in both World Wars. During World War II, its 
expeditionary force in Italy played a key role in the allied victory at 
Monte Castello. It is a party to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal 
Assistance (Rio Treaty) and a member of the Organization of American 
States (OAS). Recently, Brazil has given high priority to expanding 
relations with its South American neighbors and is a founding member of 
the Amazon Pact, the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), and 
Mercosul (Mercosur in Spanish), uniting Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, 
and Brazil. Along with Argentina, Chile, and the United States, Brazil 
is one of the guarantors of the Peru-Ecuador peace process. 

Brazil is a charter member of the United Nations and participates in 
many of its specialized agencies. It has contributed troops to UN 
peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East, the former Belgian Congo, 
Cyprus, Mozambique, and most significantly, Angola. Brazil began serving 
a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council on 
January 1, 1998. 

As Brazil's domestic economy has grown and diversified, the country has 
become increasingly involved in international politics and economics. 
The United States, Western Europe, and Japan are primary markets for 
Brazilian exports and sources of foreign lending and investment. As an 
indication of Brazil's broader international role, trade with other 
developing countries increased from 9% of the total in the 1970s to 
nearly 30% in 1993. Brazil has also bolstered its commitment to 
nonproliferation through the signing of a full-scale nuclear safeguard 
agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), accession 
to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and membership in the Missile Technology 
Control Regime and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. 

Principal Government Officials 

President--Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Vice-President--Marco Maciel
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Luiz Felipe Lampreia
Ambassador to the U.S.--Paulo Tarso Flecha de Lima
Ambassador to the UN--Celso Amorim
Ambassador to the OAS--Carlos Alberto Leite Barbosa

Brazil maintains an embassy in the United States at 3006 Massachusetts 
Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-238-2700). Brazil maintains 
consulates general in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles; and consulates 
in Miami, Houston, Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Orlando. 

PEOPLE AND HISTORY 

With an estimated 156 million inhabitants, Brazil has the largest 
population in Latin America and ranks sixth in the world. The majority 
live in the south-central area, which includes the industrial cities of 
Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte. Urban growth has been 
rapid: by 1991, 75% of the total population were living in urban areas. 
Rapid growth has aided economic development but has also created serious 
social, environmental, and political problems for major cities. 

Four major groups make up the Brazilian population: the Portuguese, who 
colonized in the 16th century; Africans brought to Brazil as slaves; 
various other European, Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrant groups who 
have settled in Brazil since the mid-19th century; and indigenous people 
of Tupi and Guarani language stock. Intermarriage between the Portuguese 
and indigenous people or slaves was common. Although the major European 
ethnic stock of Brazil was once Portuguese, subsequent waves of 
immigration have contributed to a diverse ethnic and cultural heritage. 

From 1875 until 1960, about 5 million Europeans emigrated to Brazil, 
settling mainly in the four southern states of Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa 
Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. Immigrants have come mainly from Italy, 
Germany, Spain, Japan, Poland, and the Middle East. The largest Japanese 
community outside Japan is in Sao Paulo. Despite class distinctions, 
national identity is strong, and racial friction is a relatively new 
phenomenon. 

Indigenous full-blooded Indians, located mainly in the northern and 
western border regions and in the upper Amazon Basin, constitute less 
than 1% of the population. Their numbers are declining as contact with 
the outside world and commercial expansion into the interior increase. 
Brazilian Government programs to establish reservations and to provide 
other forms of assistance have existed for years, but are controversial 
and often ineffective. 

Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas. 
Approximately 80% of all Brazilians belong to the Roman Catholic Church; 
most others are Protestant or follow practices derived from African 
religions. 

Brazil was claimed for Portugal in 1500 by Pedro Alvares Cabral. It was 
ruled from Lisbon as a colony until 1808, when the royal family, having 
fled from Napoleon's army, established the seat of Portuguese Government 
in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil became a kingdom under Dom Joao VI, who 
returned to Portugal in 1821. His son declared Brazil's independence on 
September 7, 1822, and became emperor with the title of Dom Pedro I. His 
son, Dom Pedro II, ruled from 1831 to 1889, when a federal republic was 
established in a coup by Deodoro da Fonseca, marshal of the army. 
Slavery had been abolished a year earlier by the Regent Princess Isabel 
while Dom Pedro II was in Europe. 

From 1889 to 1930, the government was a constitutional democracy, with 
the presidency alternating between the dominant states of Sao Paulo and 
Minas Gerais. This period ended with a military coup that placed Getulio 
Vargas, a civilian, in the presidency; Vargas remained as dictator until 
1945. From 1945 to 1961, Eurico Dutra, Vargas, Juscelino Kubitschek, and 
Janio Quadros were elected presidents. When Quadros resigned in 1961, he 
was succeeded by Vice President Joao Goulart. 

Goulart's years in office were marked by high inflation, economic 
stagnation, and the increasing influence of radical political elements. 
The armed forces, alarmed by these developments, staged a coup on March 
31, 1964. The coup leaders chose as president Humberto Castello Branco, 
followed by Arthur da Costa e Silva (1967-69), Emilio Garrastazu Medici 
(1968-74), and Ernesto Geisel (1974-79) all of whom were senior army 
officers. Geisel began a liberalization which was carried further by his 
successor, Gen. Joao Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo (1979-85). 
Figueiredo not only permitted the return of politicians exiled or banned 
from political activity during the 1960s and 1970s, but also allowed 
them to run for state and federal offices in 1982. 

At the same time, an electoral college consisting of all members of 
congress and six delegates chosen from each state, continued to choose 
the president. In January 1985, the electoral college voted Tancredo 
Neves from the opposition Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) 
into office as President. However, Tancredo Neves became ill in March 
and died a month later. His Vice President, former Senator Jose Sarney, 
became President upon Neves' death.

Brazil completed its transition to a popularly elected government in 
1989, when Fernando Collor de Mello won 53% of the vote in the first 
direct presidential election in 29 years. In 1992, a major corruption 
scandal led to the impeachment and ultimate resignation of President 
Collor. Vice President Itamar Franco took his place and governed for the 
remainder of Collor's term culminating in the October 3, 1994 
presidential elections, when Fernando Henrique Cardoso was elected 
President with 54% of the vote. He took office January 1, 1995. 

President Cardoso has sought to establish the basis for long-term 
stability and growth and to reduce Brazil's extreme socioeconomic 
imbalances. His proposals to Congress include constitutional amendments 
to open the Brazilian economy to greater foreign participation and to 
implement sweeping reforms--including social security, government 
administration, and taxation--to reduce excessive public sector spending 
and improve government efficiency. 

OTHER BUSINESS CONTACTS:

U.S. Department of Commerce
Office of Latin America and the Caribbean
International Trade Administration
14th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 202-482-0428
1-800-U.S.A-TRADE
Fax: 202-482-4157
Automated fax service for trade-related info: 202-482-4464
Internet:http://www.ita.doc.gov 

American Chamber of Commerce of Sao Paulo
Rua da Paz, no. 1431
04713-001 - Chacara Santo Antonio
Sao Paulo - SP, Brazil
Tel: 55-11-51-803-804
Fax: 55-11-51-803-777
E-mail: amhost@amcham.com.br
Home Page: http://www.amcham.com.br 

American Chamber of Commerce of Rio de Janeiro
Praca Pio X-15, 5th F loor
Caixa Postal 916
20040 Rio de Janeiro--RJ-Brazil
Tel: 55-21-203-2477
Fax: 55-21-263-4477
E-mail:amchambr@unisys.com.br
Home Page: http://amchamrio.com.br
Branch also in Salvador 

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION 

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides 
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are 
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel 
to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all 
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency 
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and 
security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in 
the country.

Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information 
quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term 
conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security of 
American travelers. Free copies of this information are available by 
calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-
on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and Consular Information 
Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page:  
and the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). To access CABB, dial the 
modem number: (301-946-4400 (it will accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set 
terminal communications program to N-8-1 (no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop 
bit); and terminal emulation to VT100. The login is travel and the 
password is info (Note: Lower case is required). The CABB also carries 
international security information from the Overseas Security Advisory 
Council and Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Consular Affairs 
Trips for Travelers publication series, which contain information on 
obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, can be purchased 
from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 
202-512-2250.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be 
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-
4000. 

Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour, 7-
day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8 a.m. 
to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-900-
225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat rate 
of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648).

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 
(404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health advisories, immunization 
recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water 
safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information 
for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is 
available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 
20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to 
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's 
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal 
Government Officials" listing in this publication). 

U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas 
are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country 
(see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in this publication). 
Registering with the embassy may help you to replace lost identity 
documents or help family members contact you in case of an emergency.

Further Electronic Information: 

Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet, 
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy 
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch, 
the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings; 
Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign 
service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at 
http://www.state.gov.

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on an annual basis by 
the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the 
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of 
official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact 
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. 
Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or 
fax (202) 512-2250. 

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information, 
including Country Commercial Guides. It is available on the Internet 
(www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-
1986 for more information.

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