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Transportation and Communication in Brazil

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Brazil Transportation and Communications

Roads: Since 1970s government has given funding priority to roads and highways. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and other major cities have modern metropolitan expressways. Practically all state capitals linked by paved roads. Brazilian highways of modern design. Road network most developed, but maintenance remains problem. Highway transportation of passengers and freight leading form of transportation in Brazil, with highway system 1,670,148 kilometers in length (increase of more than 300 percent since 1970s), of which 161,503 kilometers paved. At least three-fourths of Brazil's population and goods transported by highway. Although Brazil borders all but two South American countries, only in southern regions are links to adjoining countries adequate; in North and Center-West, roads to adjoining countries barely passable or only planned. Large areas remain inaccessible. In part because of general disregard of traffic laws, automobile collisions claim lives of roughly 50,000 Brazilians per year, and drivers responsible for accidents rarely held accountable. New Transit Code took effect in January 1998, imposing a tough new set of traffic laws.

Railroads: Rail network, in proportion to highways, relatively small. Rail lines cover only 30,129 kilometers, of which 2,150 kilometers electrified. However, some special projects have been implemented, such as Steel Railroad (Ferrovia do Aço) to connect inland iron ore mining areas to steel mills and port facilities on Southeast's coast. Its western network sold to a foreign consortium in early 1996. Federal Railroad System, Inc. (Rêde Ferroviária Federal S.A.--RFFSA) has operated 73 percent of Brazil's suburban railroads, with 21,951 kilometers of track and 40,500 employees in nineteen states. In 1995 RFFSA hauled 85 million tons of cargo, and Southeastern Railroad Line accounted for 45 million tons. Central-eastern network 7,132 kilometers; western network 1,620 kilometers. Privatization of financially troubled RFFSA began in 1995.

Subways: Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo have new urban subway systems. Although São Paulo needs a 200-kilometer network, it had only forty-three kilometers in 1996. Same US$0.60 fare takes one anywhere on São Paulo's Metrô network. New South Line of Rio de Janeiro's Metrô extends to Copacabana.

Ports: Thirty-six deep-water ports. Most, including Rio de Janeiro and Santos (largest in Latin America), being privatized.

Waterways: Some 50,000 kilometers navigable. Boats main form of transportation in many parts of Amazon Basin. Amazon navigable by ocean steamers as far as 3,680 kilometers to Iquitos, Peru. Constitutional amendment ending state monopoly of domestic shipping approved August 15, 1995. Until regulations approved, foreign ships may carry only passengers.

Pipelines: Approximately 2,000 kilometers for crude oil, 465 kilometers for refined products, and 257 kilometers for natural gas. Planned Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline targeted for completion in 1997; will be 3,415 kilometers in length, running from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to São Paulo. Pipeline will also con-nect to states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais and link with existing refineries and production fields in São Paulo's Campos and Santos basins.

Air Transport and Airports: Vast network of air services in existence since 1930s. Direct air connections to all other countries in South America, several in Central America, and all three in North America, as well as to every continent. Routes--both at commuter and medium- to long-range level--operated by various commercial airlines, increasingly using airplanes designed and built in Brazil. All airlines registered in Brazil are private enterprises, some allowing foreign-equity participation. Major airlines include Rio Grande do Sul Airline (Viação Aérea Rio Grande do Sul--Varig) and São Paulo Airline (Viação Aérea São Paulo--VASP). Ten fully operational international airports.

Radio: Number of radios--about 30 million (1995). Number of radio stations: at least 2,751; 334 being installed. Range of radio stations: national/regional, 2,932; tropical (in tropical areas), eighty-two; shortwave, 151; and FM, 1,248. Estimated audience: 100 million. Government has ultimate control over radio stations through power to control licensing. Government broadcasts domestically for hour each night by requisitioning time on all national radio stations. Rádio Nacional (government's overseas radio service) transmits information and cultural programs supportive of Brazilian foreign policy and commercial activity to Europe, the Americas, Africa, and parts of Asia. Station's medium-wave and short-wave broadcasts in Portuguese to the Amazon Region. Brazilian Radio Broadcasting Company (Empresa Brasileira de Rádiodifusão--Radiobrás) became Brasília-based Brazilian Communications Company (Empresa Brasileira de Comunicações S.A.--Radiobrás) in 1988. Radiobrás directs programming.

Television: Number of televisions increased by only 200,000 from 1985 to 1995, when total figure reached 26.2 million. Estimated potential audience: 80 million. TV programming run primarily by private enterprises. Licenses to operate issued by executive branch through Ministry of Communications and approved by Congress. Number of television stations, at least 257 and thirty-one under installation; commercial TV stations, 269; educational and university TV stations, twenty (owned by federal government, state governments, universities, and educational foundations). TV networks: Globo Television Network (Rêde Globo de Televisão), eighty-one stations; Rêde Bandeirantes, sixty-three stations; Brazilian Television System (Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão--SBT), seventy-seven stations; Rêde Manchete, thirty-six stations; TV Record, twelve stations. Domestic dissemination of signals beamed by all five national networks through two domestic Brasilsat satellites operated by Brazilian Telecommunications Company (Empresa Brasileira de Telecomuniçacões--Embratel), government's national communications corporation. Embratel also operates micro-wave system available to all stations. Various "cable" systems are also being developed in major Brazilian cities. Rather than actually transmitting by physical cable, these systems work via satellite to individual receiving dishes installed for subscribers. NET System, being installed in major cities, operates by cable. Every major television market in Brazil has five networks represented by affiliate station. Much of television program-ming entertainment, especially famous telenovelas (prime-time soap-opera-style dramas). Most cities also have educational TV channel, TV Educativa, which carries cultural, documentary, and sometimes foreign language programs.

Telephones: Number of telephones 13,237,852 (1995, IBGE). About half of telephones and one-third of installed cellular phone lines in São Paulo. Residents of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro must pay about US$3,000 to obtain telephone line. Nine lines per 100 population. About 98 percent of rural properties have no telephone lines. Government plans to triple number of fixed phone lines to 40 million by 2003 and to increase number of cellular links from 800,000 to 8.2 million by 1999. In July 1996, Brazilian legislators formulating plans to privatize state-owned monopoly of Brazilian Telecommunica-tions (Telecomunicações Brasileiras S.A.--Telebrás), which has 90 percent of Brazilian telephone subscribers and twenty-seven regional companies. Telebrás launched three cable systems but was facing stiff competition in cable market from publishing giants Grupo Abril (TVA Brasil) and Globo (Globocabo and NET Brasil). Sales of telecommunications products in 1995 accounted for US$2.1 billion. In 1997 Brazil had 7,600 kilo-meters of fiber optic cable; additional 7,400 kilometers sched-uled for completion in 1999.

Telecommunications Organizations: Two main telecommu-nications organizations are National Department of Telecom-munications (Departamento Nacional de Telecomunicações--Dentel), located within Ministry of Communications in Brasília; and Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Stations (Associação Brasileira de Emissoras de Rádio e Televisão--ABERT), also located in Brasília. Dentel supervises television and radio broadcasting.

Print Media: 333 newspapers published daily in Brazil in 1993. All newspapers privately owned and operated. Total daily circulation varies between 2.2 and 2.6 million. Leading newspapers: Folha de São Paulo (São Paulo; liberal, center-left; daily circulation 540,000 copies; Sunday circulation 1,200,000); O Globo (Rio de Janeiro; conservative; 280,000, daily; 525,000, Sunday); O Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo; independent; 320,000, daily; 650,000, Sunday); Jornal do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro; Catholic, conservative; 116,000, daily; 160,000, Sunday); weekday Gazeta Mercantil (São Paulo; business; 100,000, daily); Correio Braziliense (Brasília; 50,000, daily; 100,000, Sunday); Jornal de Brasília (Brasília; 22,000, daily; 26,000, Sunday). Periodicals: Of several hundred periodicals published in Brazil, most influential and widely circulated news and current affairs magazines are: Veja (1,207,521), Visão, and IstoÉ (491,752). Leading business news biweekly is Exáme (188,000). Leading illustrated general interest magazine is Manchete (130,000). All but Rio de Janeiro-based Manchete published in São Paulo. Domestic news agencies: Rio de Janeiro-based Agência Globo and Agência JB; Brasília-based Agência ANDA and Empresa Brasileira de Noticias; and São Paulo-based Agência Estado and Agência Fôlha.

Data as of April 1997





About Brazil
Table A. Selected Acronyms and Abbreviations
Table B. Chronology of Important Events
Transportation and Communications
Government and Politics
National Security

Historical Setting

The Indigenous Population
The Colonial Era, 1500-1815

- Frontier Expansion That Shaped Brazil
- Early Colonization
- French and Dutch Incursions
- Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming

- The Transition to Kingdom Status
The Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil, 1815-21

The Empire, 1822-89
- Emperor Pedro I, 1822-31

- The Regency Era, 1831-40
- The Second Empire, 1840-89

The Republican Era, 1889-1985
- The Old or First Republic, 1889-1930

- The Era of Getúlio Vargas, 1930-54
- The Post-Vargas Republic, 1954-64
- The Military Republic, 1964-85

The Society and Its Environment

The Physical Setting
- Size and Location
- Geology, Geomorphology, and Drainage

- Soils and Vegetation
- Climate
- Geographic Regions

North / Northeast
South / Southeast

- The Environment
- Population Size and Distribution
- Mortality / Fertility
- Migration and Urbanization
Social Structure
Social Classes
- Gender
- Youth / Elderly
- Race and Ethnicity
- Amerindians
- Rural Groups
Cultural Unity and Diversity
- The Brazilian Way
- Language
- Mass Communications
- Family and Kinship
- Roman Catholicism
- Other Religions

Health Status and Health Care
- Indicators of Health
- Infectious and Chronic Diseases
- Nutrition and Diet
- The Health Care System
- Health Professionals and Resources
Public Health and Welfare
- Social Security

- Sanitation and Public Utilities
- Housing
- Literacy
- Primary and Secondary Schools
- Colleges and Universities
- Principal Research Libraries
Social Conflict and Participation
- Conflict and Nonviolence
- Growth of Social and Environmental Movements
- Inclusion and Exclusion

The Economy

Historical Background and Economic Growth

- The Colonial Period
The Sugar Cycle, 1540-1640
The Eighteenth-Century Gold Rush

- The Economy at Independence, 1822
- The Coffee Economy, 1840-1930
- A Period of Sweeping Change, 1930-45
- Import-Substitution Industrialization, 1945-64
- Stagnation and Spectacular Growth, 1962-80
Stagnation, 1962-67
Spectacular Growth, 1968-73

Growth with Debt, 1974-80

- Stagnation, Inflation, and Crisis, 1981-94
The 1981-84 Period
The 1985-89 Period

The 1990-94 Period

The Labor Force and Income Levels
- Employment and Earnings


- Inequality and Poverty
Structure of Production
- Agriculture
- Livestock
- Fishing
- Industry
- Mining
- Energy
Electric Power
Natural Gas
Nuclear Power

- The Services Sector

Inland Waterways
Merchant Marine

Exchange-Rate and Balance of Payments Policies
- Exchange Rates and Foreign Trade
- Capital Flows and the External Debt
Fiscal and Monetary Policy, the Public Sector, and Inflation
- Fiscal Trends in the 1980s
- Pressures on Public-Sector Expenditures in the 1980s
- Fiscal Deficits and Inflation
Brazil's Real Plan
Trade Policies
Trade Patterns and Regional Economic Integration
Economic Outlook

Government and Politics

Political Culture
Constitutional Framework
Structure of Government
- The Executive

- The Legislature
- The Judiciary
- State and Local Governments
The Political Party System
- Historical Origins and Evolution
- Major Parties in Congress

Progressive Renewal Party
Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
Liberal Front Party
Brazilian Labor Party
Democratic Labor Party
Workers' Party
Brazilian Social Democracy Party
Progressive Party

- Minor Parties in Congress
Liberal Party
Party of National Reconstruction
Brazilian Socialist Party
Brazilian Communist Party
Communist Party of Brazil

- Regional Strength of the Parties
- Party Legislation
- Sarney's Presidency, 1985-90
- Collor de Mello's Presidency, 1990-92
- Franco's Presidency, 1992-94
- Cardoso's Presidency, 1995-2003
Women in Politics
The Electoral System
- The Presidential Election of 1989
- Congressional and State Elections, 1990
- Municipal Elections, 1992

- General Elections, 1994
- Municipal Elections, 1996
Interest Group Politics
- Interest Groups
- The Lobbying Process
- The Media
Foreign Relations
- The Foreign Service
- Foreign Policy Decision Making
-Multilateral Relations
- Latin America
- Europe
- The Middle East
- Africa
- Asia
- United States

National Security

The Military Role in Society and Government

- Military Rebellion and the Revolution of 1930
- From Moderator to Director, 1930-85
- The Internal Security Mission, 1964-85
- Civil-Military Relations, 1985-94
Brazil and International Conflicts, 1917-95
Foreign Military Influence
The Military Role in the Intelligence Services
- The National Intelligence Service, 1964-90
- The Strategic Affairs Secretariat, 1990-94
Defense Industries
Mission of the Armed Forces
- The Military Mission since 1988
- The Military in the Amazon
- The Military Role in Counter-Drug Actions
- Civic Action
Defense Expenditures
Organization of the Armed Forces
- Command and Control
- Brazilian Army
- Brazilian Navy
- Brazilian Air Force
Personnel and Training
- Conscription
- Ranks, Uniforms, and Insignia
- Education and Training
- Sociology of the Officer Corps
- Officer Recruitment
- Women in the Armed Forces
Security Forces
- Federal Police
- State Police
Crime and Punishment
- Crime in Brazil
- Penal Code
- Penal Institutions
Toward the Future

Science and Technology

Coming Soon!
Historical Evolution
Colonial Science
Imperial Science
Applied Science in Agriculture and Health
The Search for Alternatives
Science and Technology as Modernization, 1945-64
The Great Leap Forward, 1968-79
Science and Technology as a Pressure Group, 1979-90
The Computer Industry Policy
Science for Industrial Competitiveness
Administration of Science and Technology
The Ministry of Science and Technology
National Council for Scientific and Technological Development
The Funding Authority for Studies and Projects
The Coordination of High-Level Personnel Training
Other Activities by the Federal Government
Science and Technology in the States
The São Paulo Science and Technology System
Research and Development
University Research and Graduate Education
Research in State-Owned Corporations
Technological Research in the Private Sector
Centers of Excellence
Policy Perspectives
Nuclear Programs
The Space Program
Missile Programs
Appendix. Tables

Brazil Information Center

Bahia Resort Hotels
Brazilian Consulate
Brazilian Currency
Carnival of Brazil
Dictionary -Transltation
Flights to Brazil
Information About Brazil
Map of Brazil
Travel to Brazil
Visa to Brazil

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