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By Robert Van Dine

Spain & Portugal's difference in governing their colonies

The different approach to governance between the Spanish and the Portuguese was caused by a disparate of colonial cultures.

The indigenous Indians of Brazil had not urbanized nor developed religious cultures, which made it easier for the Portuguese to be accepted. The Spanish colonies were confronted with organized indigenous people, such as Aztec, Inca and Mayan civilizations. Religious cultures were very much apart of their daily lives and the lived in a more structures urban areas, which was a cause of problems for the Spanish.

The Spanish focused their attention on mining of gold and silver and control of all commerce. Whereas the Portuguese main interest was in the export of Brazilwood, much sought after in Europe as a source of dye. The lack of human and mineral resources prompted the Portuguese crown to bait its citizen to come to the New World with promises of land grants. These grants were often rewarded to military men who in turn established an "Imperial Bureaucracy" to protect Brazil from French and British encroachment. In Spanish America, the goal was, as Skidmore and Smith state, "to reconquer the possessions from the conquerors." Unlike Spain, Portugal did not tax the domestic market but placed their emphasis on taxing exports as a source of revenue for government. The end result was a Brazil that was less likely to rebel against their mother country.

Portuguese monarchy's opion of Britain's role

The monarchy hired English mercenaries to help put down the Pernambucans in the northwest of Brazil who had proclaimed "the Confederation of the Equator." Rio succeeded in dominating the region. The British were rewarded my playing a large role in Brazil's independence - through a series of agreements, very favorable to the British, the convinced the Portuguese King Dom Joao VI to recognize Brazil's independence.

Brazil's gain of a peacefull independence with an end to slavery without a civil war, and the transition from a Monarchy to a Republic

The end of slavery in Brazil came by the way of the British influence, because of the British colony of the West Indies, where slavery had been abolished. Both the West Indies and Brazil were sugar-producing colonies. The British interest in abolishing slavery in Brazil was to insure that Brazil did not gain a financial advantage, by using slave labor, in selling sugar to world markets at a lower price than the British colony could compete with.

The peaceful transition came in 1822 when Brazil broke with Portugal. Don Joao VI, who was formerly emperor of Brazil now, sat on the throne of Portugal. He made Brazil a separate monarchy with his son Don Pedro I as emperor. Don Pedro I, abdicated in 1831 and departed for Portugal, a victory for the Brazilian party. The vacancy caused by his departure left a regent in charge until his son Don Pedro II, who was age 5 at the time, acceded to the throne in 1840. Meager financing of the military caused a plot to develop and an ultimatum that was given that the emperor Don Pedro and his family were to leave the country. The Republic was formed the day after his departure on November 16, 1889.

Was the Estado Novo of Vargas a form of fascism?

In 1935, President Vargas, due to concerns about a popular movement by the National Liberation Alliance (made up of Socialists, Communists, and radicals) declared a "State of Siege" and revoked constitutional guarantees. Congress approved the request and a dictated a crack down of the Leftists using the military to arrest and torture the "subversives" Vargas became a dictator and introduced a form of fascism by appointing himself to another presidential term. Although, not pure European fascism, in the higher sense of the term, it came very close.

Question 5: Why was there a transition to civilian, elected governments in 1946?

President Vargas had shifted his emphasis to creating "a new electoral image of populism with the aim of being democratically elected, some thing that had been neglected during the rule of "Estado Novo" this shift to the left was disturbing to both the United Stated and the Brazilian military. He was given an ultimatum by the Brazilian military and was forcibly disposed in October 1945.

The cause of the coup of 1964

A combination of Goulart's inability to get control of the economy (a financial near default to foreign creditors) the radical left had emerged as a strong political force and had gained government support. Beginning a breakdown of democracy, President Goulart's opponents did not have enough votes to impeach and saw only one way to oust Goulart: a military coup. With United States' backing, a military coup was underway and Goulart fled to Uruguay.

The redemocratization of Brazil since the 1980's

The redemocratization process started during the years 1974 - 79. President Geisel promised open elections in 1982 and a return to democracy after years of military rule and methods, which included torture and intervention in the voting process by the military.

Then President Joao Figueiredo delivered direct elections as had been promised by his predecessor President Geisel. Free elections were held for the first time. The citizens of Brazil elected all its' State Governors as well as Senators, mayors and State representatives. For once, the military remained "on the sidelines" and Brazil was on the way to redemocratization.

The recent re-election of Fernando Henrique Cardosa is a good sign for the 160,000,000 people of Brazil. There is still a lot to be done, but look what he inherited and look at what he has accomplished. As a former Finance Minister in the Collar Administration, he understands economics and democracy.

God's Speed!