Caramundo projects in Brazil
Brief History of Brazil
Exploration, Colonization and Slavery
Before the Portuguese first set foot on the ground in Brazil in 1492, the country was inhabited by indigenous people that lived there as nomadic hunters for over 8000 years. With the colonization of Brazil the indigenous people fled into the deep tropical forests and inlands of Brazil to avoid captivity and slave labor. They refused to work for the Portuguese which led to a violent occupation of land with rape and extinction as a result.
Search for gold and Indian slaves
Between the 16th and 18th century Brazil was a colony of Portugal led by Portuguese noblemen that where responsible for strips of land. In this period adventurous Portuguese “bandeirantes” traveled into the jungle in search for gold and Indian slaves. When the Indians turned out to be “useless for slavery”, the Portuguese started to import African slaves from different African regions.
Dutch Colonization in Brazil
Due to bad organization of the land it was possible for other colonizers to invade Brazilian land and occupy pieces of land. The Dutch settled for a period of approximately 25 years between 1630 until 1654 in the Northeast region which now is the state of Pernambuco. They cultivated natural sources and started sugarcane plantations for export purposes using African slaves to work in their factories and on their fields.
1888 Abolition of Slavery
From mid 16th century until 1888 when slavery in Brazil officially had come to an end, approximately 5 million registered slaves have been imported into Brazil. Several slaves escaped and started settlements called Quilombos in the inlands of Brazil, where they tried to live their African traditions. Brazils most known Quilombo was the Quilombo of Palmares where Zumbi was the leader of over 30.000 rebellious, fled slaves. Until today there are settlements spread over Brazil that maintain undiscovered, or where people live as they used to do three centuries ago.
In 1822 Brazil was declared a constitutional monarchy independent of Portugal. Dom Pedro I, the son of the then reigning King of Portugal João VI, took over declaring himself the first Emperor of Brazil, when his father left for Portugal. Found incapable for political leadership Dom Pedro I left Brazil in 1931 leaving his 14 year old son Dom Pedro II behind. Pedro II reigned as Emperor of Brazil from 1840 until 1889 when a coupe d’état forced him to leave, and a parliamentary republic was born. As a last chance to save his position, Dom Pedro II imposed the abolition of slavery in 1888 which was signed by the princess of Portugal, Isabel. Brazil became a constitutional democracy known as “The old Republic” from 1889 until 1930.
Getúlio Vargas was the first Brazilian civilian that took advantage of a military coup placed in 1930 and became the new president of Brazil. He was a populist dictator with a democratic vision. He was re-elected several times until 1954, followed by other presidents who failed to establish a stable social and economical system. In 1964 a military was coup placed on the actual president Goulart who had then developed clear aspirations towards leftist and revolutionary politics as seen in the communist revolution of Cuba. The military elite feared similar situations in Brazil and dominated Brazil with a violent military regime until 1985. Although economic growth was big in the period between 1964 and 1973, official censorship led to the torturing and killing of political opponents and the exile of left oriented revolutionary artists, literates and musicians. In 1985 Brazil finally entered in a transition towards a democracy.
Socialist Left Government with President Luíz Ignácio Lula da Silva
In 2002 the actual president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and first lefthand president from the labour party (PT) got elected and despite several scandals of corruption in his first government he got re-elected in 2006. A benefit of his effort to implement the Fome Zero (Zero Hunger and Bolsa Familia) program which nowadays feeds all families living under poverty rate in Brazil.
Geography and Environment
Brazil is one of the nine largest countries in the world. The Amazon basin and its dense jungle, occupy around 60% of the whole country. Currently, the main critical environmental issue is the depletion of the Amazon basin which is rapidly destroying the ecosystem of the region.
Although Brazil has a vast variety of landscapes from green highlands, to dry deserts in the Northeast, most of the country is tropical or subtropical and very humid. The main natural recourses of Brazil are iron and aluminum but there are also great sources of minerals. The main crops in Brazil are soy, corn, cacao, sugarcane and coffee. Brazil is up front worldwide with the production of Bio Fuel made of sugarcane. Small farmers suffer expansion of big multinational companies, expanding them from their lands, recently causing high rates of (youth) unemployment and migration to the southern urban regions such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in search for better opportunities.
The nature of Brazil is an unexplored source of innumerous types of tropical fruits only known in Brazil. The land is basically used for genetically manipulated soy and corn plantations for export. Pollution of the main sweet water source of the world, the Amazon is a serious world threat
Brazil has a population of over 189 million. Brazil is a country with mostly “Mestiço” population. This means a population descendent from a mixture of Indigenous, African and European ethnic groups. 75% of the Brazilian population is of black origin. A big issue in Brazil is color. Brazil is the only country in the world that has innumerous names for the color of the skin of its population such as, black, yellow, brown, chocolate, coffee with milk, caramel, purple black and so on and is registered at the birth certificate until today.
In the beginning of the 20th century Brazil allowed the immigration of Italian, German Ukrainian, Pole and Japanese people to work the lands and stimulate economic growth.
The original Population of Brazil
Research has shown that the indigenous population on Brazilian soil is traced back until 20.000 BC. When Brazil was ‘discovered’ by the Portuguese, an estimate population of 1.000 tribes consisting of around 5 million indigenous people, where living in Brazil. Due to the exploitation of indigenous territories by gold diggers, landlords, adventurous “white men” and their diseases, the indigenous population diminished rapidly and many tribes completely disappeared. Today, the approximately 300 thousand indigenous people form 1% of the total population of Brazil.
Severe violations against human rights are still one of the most problematic subjects to overcome in Brazil. Human Rights Watch reports an unofficial death rate by violence of 3.000 a year. Most deaths are a consequence of extreme police violence and conflicts between the authorities and local trafficking gangs in urban areas mostly in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Other forms of extreme violence are noticed in prison and youth detention centers where torturing, raping and killing by prison guards are common.
Agrarian violence is a reality fought against by the MST (Landless Laborers Movement) Landowners resort to assassins and death squads to drive and intimidate landless populations from their land. Other forms of common violations: domestic violence, indigenous violence and violence against gays.
Brazil has been characterized as the "country of the future", as the country has always had the potential to be an economic superpower, but hasn't achieved this status yet.
One of the main problems of stagnation of Brazilian economical growth is corruption and the extremely bad distribution of the national income. Until today only 5% of the total population possesses 85% of the national income. Brazil is the ninth most powerful economy of the world and is part of the BRIC countries including Russia, India and China insinuating a rapid economic growth eclipsing the current mayor economies by 2050.
Brazil is member of the Mercosul which proposes free trade and the fluid movements of goods, people and currencies between Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay. The organization has a South and Central America vocation.
Main sources for income in Brazil are tourism, and in the export transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee and autos.