Brazil in the 20th Century
The following decades saw an acceleration of immigration from Europe, which provided a large supply of labor, allowing to overcome the problems arising from the abolition of slavery, and a further expansion of agricultural plantation crops, in particular of that of coffee, which has become the main export product. After having participated in the last phase of the First World War alongside the Entente, the Brazil was shaken, in the 1920s, by strong social tensions, which resulted in the coup that in 1930 brought G. Vargas to power .. Having launched a clearly authoritarian Constitution in 1937 and dissolving all parties, Vargas maintained the presidency of the Republic until 1945, trying to provide a mass base for his dictatorial government with the mobilization of the urban classes and a series of corporatist-inspired social reforms. summarized in the Estado novo project. Its centralizing policy limited the traditional autonomy of states and local oligarchies to the benefit of the federal government, while industrialization and urbanization of the country were promoted. These developments were accentuated by the Second World War, in which Brazil participated from 1942 alongside the allies: exports to international markets, particularly American ones, were favored, production growth was stimulated and ties with the USA were strengthened. In 1945 the pressure for the restoration of a representative democracy was expressed in the military pronouncement that forced Vargas to resign. With the resignation of Vargas, a new President of the Republic (General EG Dutra) and a Constituent Assembly were elected, with the participation of various parties. Despite the advent of relative political pluralism (the Communist Party, legalized in 1945, after more than twenty years of hiding, was nevertheless outlawed in 1947), the new regime remained essentially an expression of the traditional oligarchy and the new urban middle class., while the exclusion of illiterate people from suffrage kept the majority of the population, especially in the countryside, out of political life and the parties remained largely tied to local interests and ruling classes.
The main ones, the Brazilian nationalist and populist Partido trabalhista (PTB), the moderate Partido social democrático (PSD), and the conservative União democrática nacional (UDN), took turns leading the government between 1945 and 1964, while remaining subject to substantial supervision by the armed forces and under the influence of North American economic powers. Re-elected president in 1950, Vargas, who had accentuated the populist aspects of his politics, was forced to resign from the military in 1954. After the presidential elections of 1955, the social democrat J. Kubitschek took office and tried to promote the development of the country with a policy of public investment and founded the new capital Brasilia (1960). His successor, J. Quadros of the UDN, induced to resign after a few months (1961), the vice-president J. Goulart, of the PTB, opposed by the military, was able to take over only after a constitutional amendment had reduced the prerogatives of the President of the Republic with the establishment of a prime minister. A referendum in 1963 restored the presidential regime, but Goulart’s reformist policy (particularly the land reform project) and the growing popular mobilization that accompanied it led the armed forces to seize power in a coup in 1964. presidency was assumed by General H. Castelo Branco, who in 1965 outlawed all political forces, establishing in their place a government party, the Aliança renovadora nacional (ARENA), and an official opposition, the Movimento democrático brasileiro (MDB). Two new constitutions formalized the military regime, attributing vast powers to the President of the Republic. Protest movements, mainly students, they were severely repressed and attempts to give rise to rural and urban guerrilla warfare in the early 1970s were thwarted by the army; even the Catholic Church, which, through a substantial part of the clergy, denounced political oppression and social injustice, suffered government repression (also conducted by far-right terrorist organizations such as the “death squads”). On the international level, the military regime re-established the traditional close ties with the USA questioned by Quadros and Goulart, while trying to assume a hegemonic role in South America, also through economic and trade agreements with neighboring countries and with some states. Europeans. After Castelo Branco (1964-67), A. da Costa and Silva (1967-69), E. Garrastazu Médici (1969-74) and E. Geisel (1974-79), while Brazil was experiencing a period of accelerated but unbalanced economic development, heavily dependent on foreign countries and in particular on an intense influx of foreign capital, especially from the United States.
Towards the end of the seventies the growth of social tensions and popular pressure for a democratization of the country led the military to start a process of gradual liberalization of the regime: after the advent to the presidency of the Republic of General JB Figueiredo (1979) it was promulgated an amnesty for political crimes and, with the ARENA and the MDB dissolved, the formation of new political parties was allowed. At the end of Figueiredo’s mandate (1985) the presidency was assumed by J. Sarney, founder of the Partido da frente liberal (PFL). Among the reasons that led the military to accept, albeit in a prudent form, the return to a civilian government, there was undoubtedly the economic crisis in which the Brazil had fallen since the beginning of the Eighties, with serious consequences on the tenor of life of large sections of the population and the worsening of social tensions. The new government therefore had to complete the process of transition to a democratic regime and tackle basic social problems, starting with the unresolved knot of agrarian reform, central in a country characterized by huge estates, largely uncultivated, and by dozens of millions of landless peasants or owners of tiny parcels. On the political level, the return to direct election of the President of the Republic was approved in 1985, the extension of the right to vote to the illiterate and the legalization of all parties (including the two communists), in 1986 the new Congress was elected, which also assumed the function of the Constituent Assembly. As for the agrarian reform, a project formulated in 1985 was blocked by the opposition of large landowners and conservative forces, while the violent reaction of the former (often equipped with private militias) to the pressure of the peasants caused over a thousand deaths (including numerous trade unionists and exponents of the Catholic Church). Economically, in the face of inflation of over 200% per annum and a foreign debt of over $ 100 billion, the stabilization plans were unsuccessful, while rising unemployment and austerity measures sharpened political conflicts and social. For Brazil 2009, please check hyperrestaurant.com.
The presidential elections of 1989, the first direct since 1960, led the moderate F. Collor de Mello to the head of the government. After the resignation of Collor de Mello (1992), accused of corruption, the I. Franco government took over. His Finance Minister FH Cardoso in 1994 succeeded in introducing a series of economic measures which included, among other things, the vigorous resumption of privatizations and the introduction of the new currency, the real. Cardoso, supported by prominent figures in the world of economics, seen with a certain favor also by the military and with the support of part of the working class thanks to a program of structural reforms, ran for the Partido da social democracia brasileira (PSDB) and won the 1994 presidential elections in the first round. fazendas and uncultivated land, and the private militias of the landowners, often flanked by the police. The lack of reform was matched by the massive urbanization of landless peasants and the increase in urban crime. The entry into force of MERCOSUR (1995) between Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, in order to guarantee the free circulation of goods and services, a common commercial policy towards third countries and the coordination of the macroeconomic policies of the member countries, the volume of trade increased considerably, but the scarce competitiveness of Brazilian products compared to Argentine ones and the overvaluation of the real caused a substantial trade deficit of Brazil towards Argentina, while the industrial restructuring, made necessary by the liberalization of the economic system, led to a considerable increase in unemployment. Faced with these difficulties, the Brazilian trade unions reacted with protests and general strikes. Between undoubted successes in the fight against inflation and impediments to the launch of profound social reforms, Cardoso won the 1998 elections, prevailing over the candidate of the Partido dos trabalhadores (PT), Luiz Inacio da Silva (Lula). The latter became president at the end of Cardoso’s second term in October 2002, the first member of a left-wing party to hold this office. Its policy was marked by great pragmatism, guaranteeing the Brazilian solvency markets and the country’s role as a great power and global player, and launching a social redemption plan (“zero hunger”) which involved 60 million citizens.