others that wished to join, to consolidate democratic gains. But economic conditions deteriorated thereafter in both countries, and the trade initiatives stared. Capital-goods trade between the two countries stood at lower levels in 1988 than in 1980.

Still, the slow pace of reform and the seemingly pragmatic accommodation to Cardoso's political allies angered those who had expected a more aggressive social agenda. In January 1998, in the midst of an important Senate committee vote to reduce social security benefits to help reduce the federal deficit, irate protesters from a left-wing labor union smashed through a bullet-proof door to the committee chambers, interrupting the vote. The president of the Senate, Bahia's Antonio Carlos Magalhães, Cardoso's ally, was quoted as telling policemen to clear the demonstrators out even if it meant shooting them. Seven hours later, Congress passed the bill. Cardoso, a foreign newspaper reported, had achieved another victory for Brazil's standing in the global economy. To some, these painful measures were necessary. Because of generous retirement laws and bloated bureaucracies, many of Brazil's twenty-six states were spending 70 to 90 percent of their revenues on salaries. To others, the belt-tightening hurt the working and middle classes, while Brazil's rich, historically insulated from the stresses of inflation and job pressures, simply got richer on their investments in the stock market and currency speculation.

Nor did partisan politics offer sought-after solutions. National political parties, absent since 1889, had returned after 1945 in the form of a three- party system, but in 1964 the system had been stripped of any real significance when the military government banned all opposition as subversive. The military government's two "official" parties yielded to no fewer than thirteen parties after 1985 in the 513-seat lower house of Congress. The 1988 constitution, in effect devised to micromanage Brazilian life, so rigidified the lawmaking process that amendments were required to pass by a 60 percent vote in each house of Congress, each house having between sixteen and twenty-two political parties.

As Brazil emerged from the long shadow of military dictatorship in the 1980s and after, there were signs that the public was no longer content to accept the government's line. In 1988, calls for meetings and celebrations to mark the centenary of the abolition of slavery were met with apathy around the country. In Salvador, the Bahian capital and the nation's center of Afro-Brazilian culture, white scholars and politicians who had been invited to participate in a conference on abolition and its aftermath were booed off the stage; later, their bus was attacked by angry

-144-

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The History of Brazil
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Advisory Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Timeline of Historical Events xv
  • 1 - An Earthly Paradise 1
  • Notes 29
  • 2 - Early Brazil (1500-1822) 31
  • Notes 52
  • 3 - Independence and Empire (1822-1889) 55
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - The Republic (1889-1930) 77
  • Note 96
  • 5 - The Vargas Era (1930-1954) 97
  • Notes 119
  • 6 - Dictatorship and Democracy (1954-1998) 121
  • Notes 144
  • 7 - Political Culture 147
  • Notes 166
  • 8 - Social and Economic Realities 167
  • Notes 183
  • Notable People in the History of Brazil 185
  • Bibliographic Essay 195
  • Index 203
  • About the Author 209
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