International Criminology World

World : South America : Brazil

Four major groups make up the Brazilian population: the Portuguese, who colonized Brazil in the 16th century; Africans brought to Brazil as slaves; various other European, Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrant groups who have settled in Brazil since the mid-19th century; and indigenous people of Tupi and Guarani language stock. Pedro Alvares Cabral claimed Brazil for Portugal in 1500. It was ruled from Lisbon as a colony until 1808, when the royal family, having fled from Napoleon's army, established the seat of Portuguese Government in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil became a kingdom under Dom Joao VI, who returned to Portugal in 1821. His son declared Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822, and became emperor with the title of Dom Pedro I. His son, Dom Pedro II, ruled from 1831 to 1889, when a federal republic was established in a coup by Deodoro da Fonseca, Marshal of the army. Slavery had been abolished a year earlier by the Regent Princess Isabel while Dom Pedro II was in Europe. From 1889 to 1930, the government was a constitutional democracy, with the presidency alternating between the dominant states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. This period ended with a military coup that placed Getulio Vargas, a civilian, in the presidency; Vargas remained as dictator until 1945. From 1945 to 1961, Eurico Dutra, Vargas, Juscelino Kubitschek, and Janio Quadros were elected presidents. When Quadros resigned in 1961, he was succeeded by Vice President Joao Goulart. Goulart's years in office were marked by high inflation, economic stagnation, and the increasing influence of radical political elements. The armed forces, alarmed by these developments, staged a coup on March 31, 1964. The coup leaders chose as president Humberto Castello Branco, followed by Arthur da Costa e Silva (1967-69), Emilio Garrastazu Medici (1968-74), and Ernesto Geisel (1974-79) all of whom were senior army officers. Geisel began a democratic opening that was continued by his successor, Gen. Joao Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo (1979-85). Figueiredo not only permitted the return of politicians exiled or banned from political activity during the 1960s and 1970s, but also allowed them to run for state and federal offices in 1982. At the same time, an electoral college consisting of all members of congress and six delegates chosen from each state continued to choose the president. In January 1985, the electoral college voted Tancredo Neves from the opposition Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) into office as President. However, Neves became ill in March and died a month later. His Vice President, former Senator Jose Sarney, became President upon Neves' death. Brazil completed its transition to a popularly elected government in 1989, when Fernando Collor de Mello won 53% of the vote in the first direct presidential election in 29 years. In 1992, a major corruption scandal led to the impeachment and ultimate resignation of President Collor. Vice President Itamar Franco took his place and governed for the remainder of Collor's term culminating in the October 3, 1994 presidential elections, when Fernando Henrique Cardoso was elected President with 54% of the vote. He took office January 1, 1995 and was re-elected in October 1998 for a second 4-year term. Brazil is today a constitutional federal republic composed of 26 states and the Federal District. With an estimated 170 million inhabitants, Brazil has the largest population in Latin America and ranks sixth in the world. Urban growth has been rapid; by 2000, 81% of the total population were living in urban areas. Rapid growth has aided economic development but has also created serious social, environmental, and political problems for major cities. President Cardoso has sought to establish the basis for long-term stability and growth and to reduce Brazil's extreme socioeconomic imbalances.


Brazil's GDP in 2001 was estimated at $500 billion, down from $595 billion in 2000 because of the sharp depreciation of the real. It is a highly diversified economy with wide variations in levels of development. Most large industry is concentrated in the south and southeast. The northeast is traditionally the poorest part of Brazil, but it is beginning to attract new investment. Brazil embarked on a successful economic stabilization program, the Plano Real (named for the new currency, the real; plural: reais) in July 1994. Inflation, which had reached an annual level of nearly 5,000% at the end of 1993, fell sharply, reaching a low of 2.5% in 1998; it was 7.7% in 2001. Brazil successfully shifted from an essentially fixed exchange rate regime to a floating regime in January 1999. Following the float in 1999, the real fell approximately 50%. It was relatively stable in 2000, but depreciated almost 20% in 2001 due to a number of shocks, including a domestic energy crisis and an economic crisis in Argentina. Starting in 1994, the Cardoso administration introduced to Congress a series of constitutional reform proposals to replace a state-dominated economy with a market-oriented one and to restructure all levels of government on a sound fiscal basis. Congress approved several amendments to open the economy to greater private sector participation, including foreign investors. Passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Law in May 2000 improved fiscal discipline at all three levels--federal, state, and municipal--and all three branches of government. Some measures have been adopted to address large deficits in Brazil's pension programs, but more remains to be done. Tax reform and simplification has been under debate for over 6 years, but there has not been sufficient agreement for final legislative action. Despite fiscal austerity, the administration has increased expenditure in education and health to redress social inequity.

Market opening and economic stabilization have significantly enhanced Brazil's growth prospects. Brazil's trade has doubled since 1990. The stock of U.S. direct foreign investment has increased from less than $19 billion in 1994 to an estimated $35 billion through 2000. The United States is the largest foreign investor in Brazil. Brazil is endowed with vast agricultural resources. It has basically two distinct agricultural areas. The first, comprised of the southern one-half to two-thirds of the country, has a semi-temperate climate and higher rainfall, the better soils, higher technology and input use, adequate infrastructure, and more experienced farmers. It produces most of Brazil's grains and oilseeds and export crops. The other, located in the drought-ridden northeast region and in the Amazon basin, lacks well-distributed rainfall, good soil, adequate infrastructure, and sufficient development capital. Although producing mostly for self-sufficiency, the latter regions are increasingly important as exporters of forest products, cocoa, and tropical fruits. Central Brazil contains substantial areas of grassland with only scattered trees. The Brazilian grasslands are less fertile than those of North America and are generally more suited for grazing. Brazilian agriculture is well diversified, and the country is largely self-sufficient in food. Agriculture accounts for 9% of the country's GDP and employs about one-quarter of the labor force in more than 6 million agricultural enterprises. Agribusiness, taken as a whole, accounts for approximately one-third of Brazil's GDP. Brazil is the world's largest producer of sugarcane and coffee and a net exporter of cocoa, soybeans, orange juice, tobacco, forest products, and other tropical fruits and nuts. Livestock production is important in many sections of the country, with rapid growth in the poultry, pork, and milk industries reflecting changes in consumers tastes. On a value basis, production is 60% field crop and 40% livestock. Brazil is a net exporter of agricultural and food products, which account for about 35% of the country's exports.

Half of Brazil is covered by forests, with the largest rain forest in the world located in the Amazon Basin. Recent migrations into the Amazon and largescale burning of forest areas have placed the international spotlight on Brazil. The government has reduced incentives for such activity and is implementing an ambitious environmental plan that includes an Environmental Crimes Law that requires serious penalties for infractions. Brazil has one of the most advanced industrial sectors in Latin America. Accounting for one-third of GDP, Brazil's diverse industries range from automobiles, steel, and petrochemicals, to computers, aircraft, and consumer durables. With the increased economic stability provided by the Plano Real, Brazilian firms and multinationals have invested heavily in new equipment and technology, a large share of which has been purchased from U.S. firms. Brazil has a diverse and sophisticated services industry as well. During the 1990s, Brazil's financial services industry underwent a major overhaul and is relatively sound. The sector provides local firms a wide range of financial products. The largest financial firms are Brazilian (and the two largest banks are government-owned), but U.S. and other foreign firms have an important share of the market. In 2001, Brazil experienced a serious electricity crisis, due to inadequate rainfall for its hydroelectric system and insufficient new investment in the sector. Mandatory rationing and price hikes were sufficient to prevent blackouts. The rationing system officially ended on March 1, 2002. The government is seeking to increase investment, both by government-owned companies and by reducing obstacles to private sector investment. The Brazilian Government has undertaken an ambitious program to reduce dependence on imported oil. Imports previously accounted for more than 70% of the country's oil and derivatives needs but now account for about 25%. Brazil is one of the world's leading producers of hydroelectric power, with a current capacity of about 58,000 megawatts. Existing hydroelectric power provides 92% of the nation's electricity. Proven mineral resources are extensive. Large iron and manganese reserves are important sources of industrial raw materials and export earnings. Deposits of nickel, tin, chromite, bauxite, beryllium, copper, lead, tungsten, zinc, gold, and other minerals are exploited. High-quality coking-grade coal required in the steel industry is in short supply.


Brazil's strong Roman Catholic heritage can be traced to the Iberian missionary zeal, with the fifteenth-century goal of spreading Christianity to the infidels. In the New World, these included both Amerindians and African slaves. In addition to conversion, there were also strong efforts to enforce compliance with Roman Catholicism, including the Inquisition, which was not established formally in Brazil but nonetheless functioned widely in the colonies. In the late nineteenth century, the original Roman Catholic populace of Iberian origin was reinforced by a large number of Italian Catholics who immigrated to Brazil, as well as some Polish and German Catholic immigrants.

According to all the constitutions of the republican period, there is no state or official religion. In practice, however, separation of church and state is weak. Government officials generally avoid taking action that may offend the church. Brazil is said to be the largest Roman Catholic country in the world. In 1996 about 76 percent of the population, or about 122 million people, declared Roman Catholicism as their religion, as compared with 89 percent in 1980. The decline may have resulted from a combination of a real loss of influence and a tendency to be more objective in answering census questions about religion. As in most dominant religions, there is some distance between nominal and practicing Catholics. Brazilians usually are baptized and married in the Roman Catholic Church. However, according to the CNBB (National Conference of Brazilian Bishops), only 20 percent of nominal Catholics attend Mass and participate in church activities, but the figure may be as low as 10 percent. Women attend Mass more often than men, and the elderly are more active in church than the young. In the 1990s, charismatic forms of Catholicism used unconventional approaches, along the line of those used by Pentecostal Protestant groups, to attempt revitalization and increase active participation.

Popular or traditional forms of Catholicism are widespread in the interior of the country. Many Brazilians pray to figures such as Padre Cícero (a revered priest who lived in Ceará from 1844 to 1934), make pilgrimages to the site of the appearance of Brazil's patron saint, our Lady of the Appearance (Nossa Senhora Aparecida), and participate in traditional popular rites and festivities, such as the Círio in Belém and the Festa do Divino in central Brazil. Some use expressions of religious origin, such as asking for a blessing on meeting someone older or responding "God willing" (Se Deusquiser ) when someone says "See you tomorrow." During the 1970s, the progressive wing of the church made an "option for the poor." They were influenced by the doctrine of liberation theology (see Glossary), in which Brazilian theologians such as Leonardo Boff played a leading role, and followed the decision of the Latin American Bishops' Conference in Medellín, Colombia, in 1968. The church organized Ecclesiastical Base Communities throughout the country to work for social and political causes at the local level. During the military regime, the progressive clergy managed to make the church practically the only legitimate focus of resistance and defense of human rights. In the early 1990s, conservative forces, supported by Pope John Paul II, gained power in the church. Syncretism, the combination of different forms of belief or practice, has been widespread in Brazil, where Roman Catholicism has blended with numerous Afro-Brazilian cults. Syncretism occurred partly because of religious persecution and partly because of the compatibility of the different belief systems. The most well-known and socially acceptable combinations are called umbanda or candomblé . At one extreme, umbanda blends in with Kardecian spiritualism. At the other extreme, there is a kind of black magic called macumba , which can be used for either good or evil purposes. Its practitioners leave offerings of chicken, rum (cachaça ), flowers, and candles at crossroads, beaches, and other public places. Kardecian spiritists, as well as Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Buddhists, together account for about 3 to 5 percent of the population, while those declaring that they have no religion total 15 percent.

In recent decades, Protestantism has grown rapidly. The proportion of the population considered evangelical grew from 3.7 percent in 1960 to 6.6 percent in 1980. The 1991 census showed a proportion of 19.2 percent, or 28.2 million followers. Nearly half of Brazil's evangelicals, or 13 million, belong to the Assembly of God. This and other evangelical or Pentecostal varieties of Protestantism--Christian Congregation, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Quadrangular Evangelicals, Brazil for Christ, and God and Love--emphasize brotherhood and religious ceremonies that actively engage participants in song and chants. The groups that have grown the most are fundamentalists with strict standards of personal behavior regarding dress, drinking, smoking, and gambling. They have special appeal among recent migrants to urban areas or to the frontier, who have had to adapt to new and difficult circumstances. In contrast to the formality and central control of the Roman Catholic Church, the fundamentalist Protestant groups grow rapidly and split and multiply frequently.


The Penal Code has been amended considerably since its adoption in 1940 as a replacement for an older code. The Penal Code has two sections. The first distinguishes between felonies and misdemeanors and outlines the individual citizen's responsibilities under the law. The 1988 constitution proscribes capital punishment, except in case of war. The second section defines criminal behavior more comprehensively, spelling out crimes against persons, property, custom, public welfare, and public trust. Misdemeanors are also defined. In addition to the power arising from judicial warrant, decree laws empower the police to make arrests. These decree laws provide that any member of the public may, and the police must, arrest anyone found in "flagrante delicto"(in the act of committing a crime). The privilege of not being subject to arrest unless caught in the act of commiting a crime or by judicial warrant derives from the 1891 constitution and has been included in subsequent versions. Article 5 of the 1988 constitution states: "No one shall be arrested except in the act of committing a crime or by written and substantiated order of a proper judicial authority." It states further that an arrest must be communicated immediately to a judge who, if he or she finds the arrest to be illegal, must order the release of the arrestee. In practice, there have been many violations of the constitutional guarantees, particularly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The process of bringing violators or suspected violators of the law to justice usually begins in one of three ways. The first and most simple occurs in cases of flagrante delicto. The second method is followed when illegal activity is uncovered during routine investigative work, after which a judge issues a warrant for the persons involved and arrests are made. The third method involves complaints from private citizens that, if borne out by evidence or otherwise deemed reasonable, result in the issuance of a warrant.


There are few reliable statistics on the incidence of crime in Brazil. The United States Department of State, in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1995, concluded that "A high crime rate, a failure to apprehend most criminals, and an inept criminal justice system all contribute to public acquiescence in police brutality and killings of criminal suspects. Acts of intimidation, including death threats against witnesses, prosecutors, judges, and human rights monitors, often hindered investigation into these incidents." Intimidation seems to be most prevalent in the rural areas of the North and Northeast, where large landowners often threaten police, judges, lawyers, and reporters. The skewed distribution of income in Brazil (one of the most unequal in the world) may be partially responsible for an endemic and increasing problem of nonpolitical crime. Since returning to civilian government, Brazil has experienced a dramatic increase in the level of crime. In 1992 Brazil's homicide rate of 37.5 per 100,000 residents surpassed that of the United States. Rio de Janeiro registered 4,253 murders in 1993, up from 3,545 in 1992. Rio de Janeiro had seventy-two murders per 100,000 residents in 1993, compared with thirty per 100,000 in New York City. Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro State spending on security dropped from 15 percent of the state budget in 1984 to 8 percent in 1994. The rapid increase in the level of drug trafficking in Brazil raises numerous security issues. One has to do with the very control of national territory, as drug traffickers operate in the vast expanses of the Amazon and other regions. Indeed the threat of drug trafficking was used to justify the costly Sivam (Amazon Region Surveillance System) project. A second issue has to do with state control of entire favelas (squatter settlements) in Rio de Janeiro and possibly in other cities, where drug traffickers have a virtual monopoly over force. A third issue is that of potential corruption of the security forces, at all levels. The shortcomings of the judicial system lead the public to tolerate vigilantism, in the form of lynching of suspected criminals. In Bahia State, for example, eighty-four documented cases of lynching occurred in 1993. In at least one case, the lynching occurred while the police watched.

With the notable exceptions of homicide and drug trafficking discussed above, however, the crime rate in Brazil based upon statistics for 2001 is low compared to industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Brazil. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Brazil will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 2001 was 22.98 per 100,000 population for Brazil, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.61 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2001 was 8.50 for Brazil, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 31.77 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2001 was 0.61 for Brazil, 23.78 for Japan, and 318.55 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2001 was 309.91 for Brazil, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2484.64 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2001 was 88.51 for Brazil, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 430.64 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 927.41 for Brazil, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4160.51 for USA. (Note that Japan data are for year 2000 and that the Index excludes robbery and burglary for Brazil, since 2001 data were not reported by Brazil for these crimes.)


Article 144 of the 1988 constitution states that the public safety function is to be exercised through the following agencies: on a national level, the Federal Police (Polícia Federal--PF), the Federal Highway Police, and the Federal Railroad Police; and on a state level, the Civil Police (Polícia Civil--PC), the Military Police, and military fire departments. In practice the Federal Railroad Police are nonexistent, and federal highways are under Federal Police control. State highways and traffic police are under state Military Police control. The Federal Police force is very small and plays only a minor role in maintaining internal security. Police forces in Brazil are controlled largely by the states. Of the two principal state police forces, the Civil Police have an investigative role, and the uniformed Military Police are responsible for maintaining public order.

The purpose of the Federal Police is to investigate criminal offenses of an interstate or international nature; to prevent and suppress illicit traffic in narcotics and related drugs; to perform the functions of a coast guard (enforcement only), air police, and border patrol; and to perform the functions of the judicial police. The Federal Police force is structured as a career service. Officially, the Federal Police force is known as the Department of Federal Police (Departamento de Polícia Federal--DPF) and is headquartered in Brasília. In addition to the Federal District, DPF units are distributed throughout the states and territories. The DPF headquarters provides technical services relating to data processing, collection and dissemination of police intelligence, and scientific assistance to the Military Police. The DPF headquarters is also responsible for Brazil's input to and cooperation with the Paris-based International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). Among the many agencies subordinate to the DPF are the National Police Academy, the National Institute of Criminology, and the National Institute of Identification, all in Brasília. The DPF is headed by a general director, who is appointed by the president. Under the military regime, the general director was usually an active-duty army general. Since the return to civilian rule, the general director usually has been a civilian. The DPF force was experiencing deteriorating working conditions in the early 1990s. In 1992 it had a major budget deficit. The entire 1993 budget was spent by June of that year, and the force was threatened with eviction from all thirty-one buildings that it rented. The DPF office complained that the drug traffickers were better equipped than they were.

The State Police forces, nominally under the supervision of the state governors, are in fact associated closely with federal authorities. The State Police, by definition, are powerful forces in their states because municipal police generally do not exist. All police functions not performed by DPF personnel are responsibilities of the state forces. State Police consist generally of two separate forces: the Civil Police and the Military Police, sometimes referred to as the State Militia (Polícia Militar do Estado). The Secretariat for Public Security (Secretaria de Segurança Pública--SSP), an important agency of each state government, supervises police activities. The SSPs are subordinate to the National Council of Public Security (Conselho Nacional de Segurança Pública--Conasp). Each state also maintains a Civil Police force, which, according to Article 144 of the constitution, is responsible for "the duties of a judicial police force and for investigating criminal offenses, except military criminal offenses." Given that there are virtually no municipal police, the state forces are stationed in populated areas and are responsible for all police functions. Cities are divided into precincts through which the Civil Police operate, using methods familiar to police squads in most other countries. Police chiefs are known as delegates (delegados), and the force is usually commanded by the general delegate (delegado general), whose rank is equal to that of the commandant of the Military Police. A delegado must have a law degree, and is selected by public examination. Lower-ranking officers are known as investigators. Promotion to the higher ranks of the Civil Police usually requires a law degree. In 1997 there were 385,600 members of state Military Police organizations in Brazil. They are ultimately under army control and considered an army reserve. A Military Police Women's Company was established in Rio de Janeiro in 1982. The Military Police of any state are organized as a military force and have a military-based rank structure. Training is weighted more heavily toward police matters, but counterinsurgency training is also included. Arms and equipment of state forces include machine guns and armored cars, in addition to other items generally associated with police. Article 144 of the constitution stipulates that: "The Military Police forces and the military fire departments, and the auxiliary forces and the Army Reserve are subordinate, along with the civilian police forces, to the governors of the states, the Federal District, and the territories." Since 1969 the Ministry of Army has controlled the Military Police during periods of declared national emergency. Before 1930 these forces were under individual state control, and known as "the governors' armies." They sometimes outnumbered regular troops in many states. In the 1930s, the Federal Army took steps to reverse this situation. In 1964 most Military Police members were on the side of the successful coup conspirators. The Military Police are auxiliary army forces that can be mobilized quickly to augment the armed forces in an emergency. In the past, Military Police units were often commanded by active-duty army officers, but that has occurred less frequently as professional police officers have achieved higher ranks and positions. The commandant of a state's Military Police is usually a colonel. The command is divided into police regions, which deploy police battalions and companies. State traffic police are either the State Highway Police (Polícia Rodoviária Estadual), or the Traffic Police (Polícia de Trafêgo) in the larger cities. Both are part of the state Military Police. Elements within the Military Police in some states have been notorious for their vigilantism and death-squad activities, many against minors. Various studies conducted in Brazil and abroad have linked the Military Police to the death squads. According to one explanation, vigilantism is an expression of frustration with a legal system that is perceived to be inefficient and corrupt, a court system that is backlogged, and jails that are overcrowded. Indeed there is significant popular support for death-squad activity. Police also have been implicated in criminal activity of all kinds, including killings for hire, extortion, kidnapings for ransom, and narcotics trafficking. Police tribunals (special courts for the uniformed police) remained overloaded, rarely investigated cases thoroughly, and seldom convicted abusers. The separate system of uniformed police tribunals contributed to a climate of impunity for police officers involved in extrajudicial killings or abuse of prisoners. The uniformed police summarily executed suspected criminals rather than apprehend them, and then filed false reports that the suspects were resisting arrest. According to one report, authorities summarily execute approximately 2,000 persons each year. Police have killed protesters, street children, indigenous persons, and labor activists. There have been numerous credible reports of state police officials' involvement in crime, including revenge killings and the intimidation and killing of witnesses involved in testifying against police officials. The authorities' failure to investigate, prosecute, and punish police who commit such acts created a climate of impunity that continues to encourage human rights abuses. Many persons have been killed in conflicts involving disputes of land ownership and usage. The Landless Movement (MST) has pursued its campaign of legal occupation of lands identified as unproductive, and illegal occupation of land not yet so designated. The MST also continued its occupation of public buildings. MST activists often used confrontational and violent tactics, and destroyed private property during some occupations. The Catholic Church's Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), the country's foremost entity monitoring human rights in rural areas, reported 18 killings of Landless activists from January through September 2001. According to the CPT report, there were a total of 1,222 murders of Landless activists from 1995 to September 2001. Only 85 of these cases were brought to trial. The state of Para had the greatest number of killings (468); there were 107 killings in Maranhao state. A 2000 CPT report concluded that the impunity enjoyed by landed interests as a result of the "fragile" justice system and the collusion of local political interests continued to encourage serious human rights abuses of landless activists, including murder and torture. However, the report also noted that the tactics of the land reform movement have led to a self-perpetuating cycle in the past several years, in which increased confrontation and tension have led to increased government attention, encouraging in turn more land occupations.


The handling of arrestees varies according to the nature of the crime, the nature of the charges, and the social status of the accused. An arrestee who holds a university degree cannot be held in a cell with those of a lower educational status, but has the right to a special cell and privileged treatment. Felonies that are punishable by imprisonment and for which the arrestee must be detained require thorough investigation followed by trial in an appropriate court. Offenses punishable by ordinary confinement of thirty days or less, or by small fines, usually are disposed of quickly at the lowest court level possible. A judge may direct that a prisoner be held in custody pending a preliminary hearing, or the judge may allow bail depending on the severity of the case. Prisoners may also be released on writs of habeas corpus. According to law, within twenty-four hours of arrest, a prisoner must be given a copy of the complaint, signed by an authority and containing not only the details of the charge or charges but also the names of accusers and witnesses. To comply with these provisions, the police immediately must initiate an investigation; they must visit the scene of the incident, collect available evidence, interrogate witnesses, and compile a coherent account of what actually occurred. This information is presented as a police report to a judge, who then sets a date for a hearing. The 1988 constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest or detention, limiting arrests to those caught in the act of committing a crime and those arrested by order of a judicial authority. Temporary detention is allowed for up to five days, under exceptional circumstances. Judges are permitted to extend that period. In practice, police sometimes detain street youths without judicial authority. The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally observes this prohibition; however, police have continued at times to arrest and detain persons arbitrarily. The authorities generally respect the constitutional provision for a judicial determination of the legality of detention, although many convicted inmates are detained beyond their sentences due to poor record keeping. Defendants in criminal cases arrested in the act of committing a crime must be charged within 30 days of their arrest, depending on the crime. Other defendants must be charged within 45 days, although this period can be extended. Defendants for all but the most serious crimes have the right to a bail hearing. Bail is available for most crimes, and it is used. Human rights monitors alleged that civil and uniformed police regularly detain persons illegally to extort money or other favors.


The judiciary is an independent branch of government; however, it is inefficient; subject to political and economic influence, especially at the state level; lacks resources; and officials are trained poorly. In many instances, lower-income, less educated citizens make limited use of the appeals process that otherwise might ensure the right to fair trial. The judicial system, with the Federal Supreme Court at its apex, includes courts of first instance and appeals courts. States organize their own judicial systems but must adhere to the basic principles in the Constitution. Specialized courts deal with police, labor, elections, juveniles, and family matters.

Based on the police investigation that leads to the formal charges, prosecutors prepare an indictment for the review of a judge, who determines if the indictment meets the legal requirements to bring the accused to trial. A judge and jury try persons accused of capital crimes and attempted homicide. A judge tries lesser crimes. Defendants have the right to appeal all convictions to state superior courts. They further have the right to appeal state court decisions to both the Federal Supreme Court on constitutional grounds and to the Federal superior court to contest whether a decision was inconsistent with the decision of a court in another state or infringes on federal law. All defendants sentenced to 20 years in prison or more have the automatic right to a retrial in the same court. The first step in the legal process is a hearing, popularly known as an instruction session, to identify the parties involved and to determine whether a punishable offense occurred. Except for misdemeanors, the instruction session is not a trial but rather a hearing at which both the prosecution and the defense are heard in presentation, rebuttal, and final argument. If the offense is a misdemeanor, the judge is permitted to turn the proceeding into a summary court and pronounce sentence. If the case involves a felony, no judgment is possible at the instruction session. If the judge believes that there is evidence of probable guilt, the accused is indicted and a trial date is set.

The judicial branch is composed of federal, state, and municipal courts. Only appointments to the superior courts are political and therefore subject to approval by the legislature. The minimum and maximum ages for appointment to the superior courts are thirty-five and sixty-five; mandatory retirement is at age seventy. The federal courts have no chief justice or judge. The two-year presidency of each court is by rotation and is based on respecting seniority. The 1988 constitution produced five significant modifications in Brazil's judicial system. First, it converted the old Federal Court of Appeals (Tribunal Federal de Recursos--TFR) into the Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça--STJ). Second, it created an intermediate-level Regional Federal Court (Tribunal Regional Federal--TRF) system. Third, the federal general prosecutor was given a two-year renewable term, subject to confirmation by the Senate, without the possibility of removal by the president. Fourth, the STF (Federal Supreme Court) can issue a warrant of injunction (mandado de injunção ) to ensure rights guaranteed by the constitution but not regulated by ordinary legislation. And fifth, the STF can decide on matters of constitutionality without waiting for appeals to come through the federal courts. The need for judicial reform in general is widely recognized because the current system is inefficient, with backlogs of cases and shortages of judges. Cases are frequently dismissed because they are too old. Lawyers contribute to backlogs by dragging out cases as long as possible because they are paid based on the amount of time they spend on a case. In addition, STF jurisprudence is not followed by lower courts. Some corrupt judges delay certain cases so that they can be dismissed. Vacancies on the bench are difficult to fill because of low pay and highly competitive examinations that often eliminate 90 percent of applicants. Created in October 1890, the STF has eleven members appointed by the president with Senate approval. The STF decides conflicts between the executive and legislative branches, disputes among states, and disputes between the federal government and states. In addition, it rules on disputes involving foreign governments and extradition. The STF issues decisions regarding the constitutionality of laws, acts, and procedures of the executive and legislative branches, warrants of injunction, and writs of habeas corpus. Further, it presents three-name lists for certain judicial-branch nominations, and conducts trials of the president, cabinet ministers, and congressional and judiciary members. The president of the STF is third in the line of presidential succession and would preside over an impeachment trial held by the Senate.

The TFR (Federal Court of Appeals) was created under the 1946 constitution. It initially had thirteen members but expanded to twenty-seven members in 1979. As discussed above, in 1988 the TFR became the thirty-three-member STJ (Superior Court of Justice). As the last court of appeals for nonconstitutional questions, the STJ reviews decisions of the TRFs (Regional Federal Courts) and tries governors and federal judges. The president appoints its members with Senate approval on rotation. One-third are picked from the ranks of TRF judges; one-third from the ranks of State Supreme Court judges; and one-third from the ranks of state and federal public prosecutors. The 1988 constitution created five TRFs--Recife, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Porto Alegre. Each TRF must have at least six judges, appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. One-fifth must be from among lawyers or public prosecutors with at least ten years of professional experience. Members must be at least thirty years of age but no older than sixty-five.

Brazil's judicial system has a series of special courts, in addition to the regular civil court system, covering the areas of military, labor, and election affairs. The Superior Military Court (Superior Tribunal Militar--STM), created in 1808 by João VI (king of Portugal, 1816-26), is the oldest superior court in Brazil. It is composed of fifteen judges appointed by the president with Senate approval. Three members must have the rank of admiral in the Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil), three must be general officers of the Brazilian Air Force (Fôrça Aérea Brasileira--FAB), four must be army generals, and five must be civilians. The latter must be over age thirty and under age sixty-five. Two of the civilians are alternately chosen from among military justice auditors and military court prosecutors; three are lawyers with noted judicial knowledge and ten years of professional experience. The STM has jurisdiction over crimes committed by members of the armed forces. It was also used extensively to try civilians accused of crimes against "national security" during the military regime. States also have military courts to try cases involving state Military Police (Polícia Militar--PM). There are constant tensions between the Civil Police and the Military Police in most states, and sometimes these forces get involved in shootouts. The Military Police are under the jurisdiction of special police courts, which are independent of ordinary courts. The courts consist of five judges--one civilian and four ranking Military Police officials. Congressional legislation that would place the Military Police under ordinary courts remained stalled in 1995. According to Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1994 , "The Military Police courts . . . are overloaded, seldom conduct rigorous investigations of fellow officers, and rarely convict them. The separate system of state Military Police courts creates a climate of impunity for police elements involved in extrajudicial killings or abuse of prisoners, which is the single largest obstacle to altering police behavior to eliminate such abuses." Punishment remains the exception rather than the rule. Various studies have supported the United States Department of State's conclusions. One study of police crimes against civilians in the Northeast, between 1970 and 1991, found that only 8 percent of the cases resulted in convictions. A separate study in São Paulo found that only 5 percent of similar crimes resulted in convictions.

Each state has a State Supreme Court (Tribunal de Justiça--TJ). The governor, with approval by the State Assembly (Assembléia do Estado), appoints the judges to the court. This court has the prerogative of appointing special state circuit judges to deal with agrarian problems. In addition, it is responsible for organizing and supervising the lower state courts. Each state is divided into district courts (comarcas). There continue to be numerous credible reports of state police officials' involvement in intimidation and killing of witnesses involved in testifying against police officials. Defendants are entitled to counsel and must be made fully aware of the charges against them. There is no presumption of innocence. According to the Ministry of Justice, approximately 85 percent of prisoners cannot afford an attorney. In such cases, the court must provide one at public expense; courts are supposed to appoint private attorneys to represent poor defendants when public defenders are unavailable, but often no effective defense is provided. Juries decide only cases of willful crimes against life, including crimes by police; judges try all others. The right to a fair public trial as provided by law generally is respected in practice, although in some areas, particularly rural areas, the judiciary generally is less capable and more subject to influence. Similarly local police often are less dutiful in investigating evidence, prosecutors are reluctant to initiate proceedings, and judges find reasons to delay when cases involve gunmen hired by landowners to kill squatters or rural union activists.


The two general categories of penal institutions are correctional and detention. The first category includes penitentiaries, houses of custody and treatment, penal and agricultural colonies, and houses of correction. Of Brazil's approximately 5,000 penal institutions, fifty-one are correctional institutions, including twenty-seven penitentiaries, six houses of custody and treatment, twelve agricultural colonies, and six houses of correction. The second category includes military prisons, houses of detention, and juvenile correctional institutions. The Federal Prison Department (Departamento Penitenciário Nacional--Depen) is responsible for operating the penal system. Depen is subordinate to the National Council of Criminal and Prison Policy (Conselho Nacional de Política Criminal e Penitenciária--CNPCP), which is under the Ministry of Justice. Places of detention include twelve military prisons, 1,580 prisons, 2,803 jails, and five institutions for minors. The separate women's penal institutions are usually operated by nuns. Prisoners in penitentiaries are assigned to work units in maintenance shops and in light industrial plants that produce and maintain the clothing and furnishings used in the institutions. In some minimum security agricultural colonies, inmates have their families live with them during their incarceration. In 1995 Brazil's overcrowded prisons held 129,169 inmates in space designed for 59,954. That compares with 23,385 inmates in 1965, nearly a sixfold increase. Often there are six to eight prisoners in a cell meant for three. The Ministry of Justice reported that thirty-three prison rebellions occurred in 1994, while attempted or successful escapes averaged almost nine per day. The rate of imprisonment for Brazil is 105 per 100,000, a figure low by world standards and slightly below the median for South America. This is fortunate, because prison conditions range from poor to extremely harsh and life threatening. Many penal authorities in those states with the highest prison population do not have the resources to separate minor offenders from adults and petty offenders from violent criminals. Prison riots are frequent occurrences. Discipline is difficult to maintain under such conditions, and prison officials often resort to inhuman treatment, including torture. Harsh or dangerous prison conditions, official negligence, poor sanitary conditions, abuse by guards, and a lack of medical care lead to a number of deaths in prisons.A national prison census was completed in November 2001. At year's end, there were approximately 233,000 prisoners in a prison system designed to accommodate 167,000 prisoners; in 2000 there were approximately 213,000 persons incarcerated in facilities designed to accommodate 136,000 prisoners. Construction of penitentiaries continued. There were plans to build 112 new facilities during the year, with a combined capacity of 32,587 inmates. At year's end, 73 had been completed. The planned construction is not sufficient to alleviate existing overcrowding problems. Amnesty International stated that the prison system was "in crisis" in a 1999 comprehensive report on prisons, which was based on 33 visits to prisons in 10 states. In 1998 Human Rights Watch also issued a comprehensive report based on an extensive review of prison conditions in eight states. Both reports meticulously detailed inhuman conditions and systematic and wide-ranging abuses of human rights throughout the prison system. Among the most serious charges were the commonplace undocumented and uninvestigated deaths of inmates at the hands of authorities or other prisoners, and the routine use of torture against inmates by both guards and police officers. Prisoners also are subjected to extremely unhealthy conditions. Scabies and tuberculosis, diseases not common in the general population, are widespread, as are HIV/AIDS infection and leprosy. In December 2001, the Ministry of Justice estimated that 10 to 20 percent of the national prison population is HIV positive. Denial of first aid and other medical care sometimes is used as a form of punishment.


The most pervasive violations of women's rights involved sexual and domestic violence, which are both widespread and vastly underreported. There is a high incidence of physical abuse of women. Most major cities and towns have established special police offices to deal with crimes of domestic or sexual violence against women; there are over 300 such offices. However, reporting crimes and receiving help continue to be a problem for women living in remote areas who sometimes must travel great distances to the nearest special precinct. For example, the large but sparsely populated states of Acre and Roraima each has only one such precinct. The numbers of reported crimes against women continued to increase. For example, in the state of Sao Paulo, there were 310,058 complaints of violence against women in 2000, compared with 263,702 in 1999. This included 2,403 reported cases of rape or attempted rape in 2000, compared with 2,386 for 1999. In the Federal District, the number of reported cases of rape declined slightly to 371 during 2000, compared with 416 cases in 1999. The annual number of cases of harmful physical assault against women reported to the police in the state of Rio de Janeiro nearly doubled from 1991 to 1999, to 34,831, and the number of rapes reported increased from 952 to 1,455. Both state authorities and women's rights activists agree that a large number of rapes go unreported. According to a 1998 study of two middle-class neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, only 10 percent of women who had suffered violent attacks reported them to the police. The penalties for rape vary from 8 to 10 years in prison. An offender accused of domestic violence in a case that does not involve a serious offense and carries penalties of less than 1 year's imprisonment may receive alternative sentencing with no jail term, according to the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights. A national study of rape cases carried out by a group of Sao Paulo academics indicated that family members committed roughly 70 percent of rapes within their own homes. Spousal rape is illegal. Men who commit crimes against women, including sexual assault and murder, are unlikely to be brought to trial. A 1999 study by an academic at the Catholic Pontifical University of Sao Paulo indicates that 70 percent of criminal complaints regarding domestic violence against women are suspended without a conclusion. Only 2 percent of criminal complaints of violence against women lead to convictions. In 1998 the National Movement for Human Rights (NMHR) reported that female murder victims were 30 times more likely to have been killed by current or former husbands or lovers than by others, a rate that the NMHR believes still continues. Adult prostitution is not illegal; however, various associated activities, such as running an establishment of prostitution, are illegal. Trafficking in women for the purpose of prostitution is a serious problem. Sexual harassment is a problem and in April it became a criminal offense, punishable by 1 to 2 years in jail. In addition to its application in the workplace, the law encompasses sexual advances between family members, individuals in educational institutions, and service providers or clients. In the workplace, it applies only in hierarchical situations, where the harasser is of greater rank or position than the victim.


Millions of children continue to suffer from the poverty afflicting their families, must work to survive, and fail to get an education. According to a 2001 UNICEF report based on 1999 data, over 20 million children and adolescents, or almost 35 percent of all children, live in poverty. Nationwide, the Inter-American Development Bank estimates that some 30 million children live below the poverty line and increasingly come from households headed by women. Child abuse is a significant problem, although the 2001 UNICEF report notes that useful nationwide statistics on child abuse are nonexistent. A study by Centro de Defesa da Criança e do Adolescente Yves de Roussan (CEDECA) of reported cases of violence in Belem (published during the year 2001) showed that complaints of such abuse increased from 2,277 in 1990 to 6,203 in 1999. Sexual exploitation of children and child prostitution remained a significant problem throughout the country. From February 1997 to August 2001, a Rio de Janeiro-based NGO hot line ABRAPIA received 2,118 complaints of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents nationwide, including 333 in Rio de Janeiro city and 156 in Sao Paulo city. A 1999 study by the Reference Center on Children and Adolescents (CECRIA), an entity within the National Human Rights Secretariat, indicated that patterns of sexual exploitation of children correspond to the distinct economic and social profile of the country's region. In the northern Amazonian region, sexual exploitation of children centered around brothels that cater to mining settlements. In the large urban centers, children, principally girls, who leave home to escape abuse or sexual exploitation often prostituted themselves on the streets in order to survive. In the cities along the northeast coast, sexual tourism exploiting children was prevalent, and involved networks of travel agents, hotel workers, taxi drivers, and others who actively recruit children and even traffic them outside the country. Child prostitution also is developed in the areas served by the country's navigable rivers, particularly in ports and at international borders. In port cities, crews from cargo vessels are a primary clientele. The report noted that although trafficking developed in part to meet the demands of foreigners, the local population sustains it. In March 2000, the ILO reported that observers have cited over 3,000 girls who were subject to debt servitude and forced into prostitution in Rondonia state. Trafficking in children for the purpose of prostitution is a serious problem. There are no reliable figures on the number of street children. Some are homeless, but the majority returned home at night. CEDECA in Belem, in the state of Para, reported that in 1998 a total of 2,328 youths under the age of 18, or 0.5 percent of the youth population, spent their days in the streets. CEDECA estimated that 97 of those youths lived permanently in the streets. In 2000 a study in the city of Sao Paulo found 609 children living permanently on the street; a much greater number of children spend their days on the streets, but have families with whom they spend the night.


The law prohibits the transport of persons for illicit reasons within and outside the country; however, trafficking in persons to, from, and within the country is a problem. The authorities estimate that thousands of women and children are trafficked, both domestically and internationally, both for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. CECRIA has mapped the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation. Domestic routes include from the state of Goias to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, from rural areas in the North and Northeast to coastal cities for sexual tourism, and from small towns in the North to outposts in the Amazon region where itinerant workers often transit. Internationally, women and children are trafficked from the North of the country into Suriname, and sometimes from there on to Europe. The Northeast, Sao Paulo, Goias, and Rio de Janeiro are the primary sources of persons trafficked into Europe, Israel, Asia, and the United States. In Europe, Brazilian women are trafficked to Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany. CECRIA has also identified trafficking routes of children for sexual exploitation from the southern region of the county into Argentina and Paraguay. Young women who fall prey to trafficking schemes are typically between 18 and 27 years old, come from low-income families, and usually have not finished high school. The NGO Chame reports that about 80 percent of the women who are trafficked to Europe from the state of Bahia are single mothers. Traffickers often target victims with promises of lucrative work as dancers or models in Europe; beauty contest winners have been cited as common targets. According to one NGO, girls are recruited at clubs and modeling agencies, or through the Internet, want-ads, mail-order bride schemes, and maid and au pair services. Police officials believe that most women who are recruited by trafficking organizations understand that they are to work as prostitutes, but they are lied to about working conditions and their prospective earnings. In other cases, women are told that they are to work as nannies or as household servants. Upon arrival, victims of trafficking often have their passports confiscated and are forced to prostitute themselves and live in virtual confinement. In addition to the threat of physical violence, perpetrators often use debt and isolation to control the victims. Federal prosecutors and NGO's have reported that corruption among state police often impedes the apprehension of traffickers.


Brazil made substantial progress in heightening its counternarcotics posture in 1998. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso declared illicit narcotics a matter of national concern and created a new National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) to coordinate all counternarcotics programs and efforts. In February, Brazil's congress, passed long-pending anti-money laundering legislation, and enacted legislation permitting the military to intercept unauthorized civilian aircraft, including those suspected of smuggling narcotics. However, a two-year-old omnibus counternarcotics bill remained pending in the Congress at year's end, 2001. Brazil continues to be a major transit country for illicit drugs shipped to the United States and Europe, and the country's domestic drug problem continues to grow. A wave of violence striking Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is closely linked with drugs and was a major factor in the President's decision to form SENAD and appoint Brazil's first drug czar.Brazil's large territory, especially the sparsely populated Amazon region, provides traffickers with numerous air, river, and road routes, as well as seaports and airports, to transship illicit drugs. Brazil cooperated with its neighbors, particularly Peru and Colombia, to apply pressure on the smuggler "air bridge" flights that carry illicit drugs across western Brazil. Federal Police reported having seized just over six metric tons of cocaine in 1998, nearly two metric tons more than was seized in 1997. However, as Brazil has no system for compiling all drug seizure and arrest statistics, including those generated by state and local police forces, it is believed that actual narcotics seizures may well be higher than those reflected in Federal Police reports. Although there is no large-scale illicit drug crop cultivation, Brazil is a major producer of precursor chemicals and synthetic drugs.As one of its primary tasks, the new SENAD has been assigned the duty of coordinating all counternarcotics interdiction efforts, to include those of local, state, and Federal Police, and the Brazilian military. The recently named head of SENAD, a retired army general, faces the challenge of enhancing interagency cooperation. Meanwhile, the resources of the Federal Police--Brazil's primary interdiction agency--continued to be stretched. Responding, in part, to public pressure, Brazilian authorities on all levels of government continued to expand drug awareness and education programs in 1998; SENAD is also charged with developing and overseeing drug demand reduction and education, as well as drug rehabilitation programs.Brazil signed the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1991 and endeavors to meet all the goals and objectives of the convention. An omnibus counternarcotics law, approved by the Lower House of the Brazilian Congress (the Chamber of Deputies) in December 1996 and which would formally implement most remaining aspects of the UN Drug Convention, awaits final action in the Brazilian Senate. Although the draft law was scheduled to come to a vote at the end of 1998, a delay ensued when a National Narcotics Conference called for key changes to be incorporated into the bill.Brazil has a bilateral narcotics agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. that provide for bilateral counternarcotics cooperation. Brazil also cooperates bilaterally with several other countries and participates in multilateral counternarcotics initiatives such as the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the Organization of American States/Anti-drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD).

Brazil is primarily a conduit for cocaine base moving from the Andean Ridge cultivation areas to processing laboratories in Colombia. It is also a transit point for cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) bound from Colombia and other neighboring countries to North America, Europe, and Brazil's own population centers. A low-grade, boiled-base cocaine, locally dubbed "crack," developed in Bolivia, has found its way to the country's southern cities. Finally, there are indications that small but growing quantities of heroin entered the country from Colombia.In recent years, Brazil's vast western region has been used by narcotics traffickers to sustain an "airbridge" to avoid the airspace in Peru and Colombia, which maintain active aerial interdiction policies. An extensive Amazonian riverine transportation network also helps carry drugs to Atlantic ports for transshipment elsewhere. This network is also used to transport precursor chemicals, many of which are manufactured in Brazil, to narcotics processing laboratories upriver, primarily in Colombia.In Brazil's southern region, drugs are coming from Bolivia and Peru (moved via overland and aerial routes) to the major cities which, according to surveys and other data, have the highest rates of drug usage in the country. Major seaports at Santos, Rio de Janeiro, and Rio Grande, as well as international airports at Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Porto Alegre, serve as dispatch points for these drugs.Brazil's Congress in February 1998 passed a law criminalizing money laundering for the first time. Brazil's strict bank secrecy laws and its highly developed financial networks make the country vulnerable to money laundering activity. For example, sizable amounts of cash are deposited in small banks in border areas, particularly in the Brazil-Paraguay-Argentina tri-border area, then transferred from these small border banks to larger financial institutions in the country's banking centers.

The Brazilian Congress in February 1998 also approved a law that authorized the military to interdict civilian aircraft, with force if necessary. We understand that the Brazilian Government may decide to use this new law in some circumstances to disable aircraft in flight carrying suspected narcotics traffickers. As of year's end, the Brazilian Government was developing regulations governing appropriate application of the law. Brazil has already begun to put in place an Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM) to provide an integrated air and land-based radar system to detect trafficking and other illicit activity in the thinly populated region. Drug usage, primarily among young people, continues to climb. Abuse of hard drugs such as the local version of "crack" cocaine and similar substances increased in Brazilian cities and even in some smaller towns along trafficker routes. Sharing of needles by drug abusers is contributing to the spread of AIDS. U.S.-supported drug demand reduction projects, exist in several cities, and the new Anti-Drug Secretariat has as part of its mandate the duty to develop and oversee drug prevention and treatment programs.

Brazil's major counternarcotics policy initiative was the formation of the new National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD), which establishes a venue reporting through the head of the military household directly to the President, for coordinating counternarcotics activities nationwide. Key legal initiatives, such as passage of money laundering and aerial interdiction legislation, confirmed Brazil's commitment and provided important tools for use in counternarcotics efforts. While omnibus counternarcotics legislation still awaits approval in the Brazilian Senate, indications are that the bill reportedly is being held to allow SENAD input for suggested changes to the draft law. In addition, at the behest of his new drug czar, President Cardoso signed several decrees to support counternarcotics programs, including one that permits the government to seize and auction off assets belonging to suspected narcotics traffickers before they have been convicted. A revised National Defense Policy, inaugurated in late 1996, extends the military's border control mandate to include defense against organized crime elements. While the policy does not specifically target narcotics smuggling, it has allowed the military to assist police counternarcotics operations in the Amazon.Federal Police heightened surveillance of the Amazon region and also carried on lengthy counternarcotics investigations countrywide. As a result of these efforts, total Federal Police cocaine seizures were somewhat above the relatively low levels achieved in 1996 and 1997, but marijuana seizures were significantly down about 10 percent from 1997. Staffing, resources, and coordination problems continue to significantly hamper the Federal Police and other law enforcement agencies. The lack of a centralized arrest and seizure reporting system contributes to the appearance that interdiction efforts yield only limited results.

Federal counternarcotics interdiction efforts focused on the Amazon region in 1998. The Federal Police seized 250 kilograms of cocaine HC1, the biggest seizure of the year. For the year ending in July 1998, Federal Police operations in the Amazon region (operation Porras II and Bloqueio) had netted seizures of 985 kilograms of cocaine, 16 aircraft, 32 boats, and a variety of other contraband goods valued at approximately $5.2 million. Federal Police also had destroyed 18 clandestine airfields, some of which were subsequently rebuilt. In addition, 96 suspects were indicted, and 46 suspects arrested and charged with drug trafficking offences. Federal Police in March 1998 seized 950 grams of heroin (the largest heroin seizure in Brazil since 1994) that an Italian national was bringing in through Rio's international airport. The Italian, who owned a guest house in the resort town of Porto Seguro in Bahia, had brought the drug from India and apparently was planning on distributing it locally in Porto Seguro.As an illustration of the possible magnitude of state-level seizures not included in centralized statistics, the Rio de Janeiro state civil police reported taking 570 kilograms of cocaine and 4 metric tons of marijuana, in the month of September. Earlier in the year, 400 Sao Paulo state military police and 200 Denarc civil police counternarcotics agents occupied a favela, or urban slum, in east Sao Paulo that is the main supplier of drugs to the "ABC" industrial area south of the city, and other parts of Sao Paulo. Among the 32 individuals detained was Jeonildes Lima Santos, believed to be Sao Paulo's main drug trafficker. Police seized 5 kilograms of local "crack" 40 kilograms of cocaine HCl, and 27 weapons including a submachine gun, pistols, revolvers, and a rifle.Lacking inclusion of comprehensive state-level seizures, Federal Police reports would not provide a very complete picture of Brazil's counternarcotics activities.

Except for some cannabis grown primarily for domestic consumption in the interior of the northeast region, there is no evidence of significant cultivation of illicit drugs in Brazil. Authorities identified no coca or opium cultivation in 1998 and, for the first time in five years, two cocaine-producing laboratories were identified. Brazil does produce illicit psychotropic drugs, such as LSD and amphetamines, as well as anabolic steroids and such "designer" drugs as Rohypnol, the so-called "date rape" drug, which is smuggled to Florida.

Extensive domestic distribution networks have developed in major and secondary metropolitan areas in Brazil. Federal counternarcotics police and state authorities have initiated investigations of these networks, which are largely responsible for the significant increase in violence experienced by such cities as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Access to the favelas, surrounding several cities in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Porto Alegre, is controlled by local drug lords.

Federal Police in 1998 continued to focus their efforts on the western Amazon region, which began in 1997 as "Operation Porras." Despite these successes, law enforcement efforts were hampered by a lack of resources and the vast Amazon region remains difficult to police adequately, with narcotics moving across the region both by airplane and along the extensive river system. Some authorities maintain a majority of the cocaine shipped down the Amazon is destined for the United States. Manaus, the largest fresh-water port on the river, and Macapa and Belem on the Atlantic, serve as transshipment points for drugs coming from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia to be switched to ships bound for the U.S. and elsewhere.

Brazil does not extradite its own citizens. Brazil cooperates with other countries in the extradition of non-Brazilian nationals accused of narcotics-related crimes. Brazil and the U.S. are parties to a bilateral extradition treaty signed in 1961. In April 1998, Brazil allowed the extradition to the U.S. of an accused Colombian narcotics smuggler linked to multi-ton cocaine shipments.

The U.S. and Brazil signed a bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) during the visit of President Clinton to Brazil in October 1997. The U.S. Senate ratified this agreement in January 1999, but it still awaits the advice and consent of the Brazilian senate. When it goes into effect this treaty will support efforts by Brazil to deal with narcotics trafficking and organized crime, as well as other offenses.

Top Brazilian counternarcotics officials inthe SENAD in 1998 expressed a strong interest in more active cooperation, and coordination with the U.S. in drug control activities.U.S.Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents were again invited in 1998 to observe Federal Police operations in the Amazon region, and information sharing with Brazilian authorities has progressed well. Cooperation with authorities in neighboring countries, particularly in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, also enhanced regional efforts to hinder the smuggler "air bridge."

Brazil, South America's largest producer of industrial chemicals, requires registration with federal narcotics police for all production, transport, and distribution of precursor chemicals. A 1995 law places eleven chemicals under control, sets minimum thresholds for reporting and record keeping on transactions, provides for import and export licensing, and fixes substantial administrative penalties for noncompliance. However, a lack of resources prevents active government follow-up or verification of most shipments and/or their ultimate destinations, although compliance with the permit process at least appears to be widespread. Nevertheless, diversion of chemicals such as ether and acetone to neighboring Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia occurs. The United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) in September 1998 initiated a $9 million program, for increasing precursor chemical control.

With the creation of SENAD in 1998, Brazil elevated its focus on drug demand reduction and education, as well as on rehabilitation of drug users, to the highest level. At the end of November 1998, SENAD hosted a National Anti-Drug conference attended by nearly 2,000 interested professionals and other parties from throughout the country. The conclusion of this conference was that, as a matter of national policy, Brazil should put even more focus on demand reduction, education, and treatment than on interdiction. Most of Brazil's demand reduction efforts are aimed primarily at young people, who constitute the largest group of drug users. The U.S., through its counternarcotics funds, helps support demand reduction and drug education programs in Brazil. One major focus has been on the PROERD (Programa Educacional de Resistencia a Violencia e as Drogas) program, based on the American DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) model. PROERD provides training to uniformed state military police drug education volunteers in 17 of Brazil's 26 states, as well as in the federal district. A major accomplishment in 1998 was the decision by the acting public security director in the state of Rio de Janeiro to reinstitute PROERD, which had been closed down by his predecessor in 1995. As a symbol of its support for Brazil's efforts with PROERD, DARE International will hold its worldwide conference in February 1999 in the state of Sao Paulo, which has been the focus of all PROERD programs in Brazil since the demise of the Rio program in 1995. Most Brazilian states and cities conduct some drug awareness campaigns.

The Federal Police seized 5.8 metric tons of cocaine in 1998, nearly 2 metric tons more than they seized in 1997 but nearly double the 3.1 metric tons seized in 1996. Marijuana (cannabis) seizures of just under 29 metric tons were about 10 percent below 1997 levels, when nearly 32 metric tons were taken. Seizures of marijuana were markedly up in the southeastern and central regions and down in the main marijuana cultivation areas in the northeast. Most cocaine seized derived from the northern region, including the majority of the Amazon region. Seizures of psychotropic drugs registered a 40-fold increase over the 1997 level, but about a quarter of the total psychotropics taken in 1998--25,000--were taken in just three raids in one day in the Northeastern state of Ceara. U.S. efforts were successful in helping to block the court-approved transfer to Manaus of Antonio Mota Graca, a major Brazilian trafficker responsible for facilitating a large part of the Cali drug cartel's cocaine in and through Brazil to international markets. Federal Police suspected that Mota Graca was planning to escape following his transfer to Manaus. Corruption. The Brazilian government, as a matter of policy and practice, does not condone production, shipment, or distribution of illicit drugs or laundering of drug money; nor do senior government officials engage in, encourage, or facilitate such activities. Brazil's new money laundering legislation contains provisions to assist law enforcement in uncovering and hindering official corruption as well.

Brazil became a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in1991, although it still lacks legislation, in the form of

the pending omnibus counternarcotics bill, formally implementing all of the provisions of the Convention. Legislation outlawing money laundering was passed in February 1997. While the provisions of the pending omnibus law are needed to bring Brazil into full compliance with the UN convention, in practice Brazil meets many of its overall objectives. Bilateral agreements based on the 1988 convention form the basis for counternarcotics cooperation between the U.S. and Brazil. Brazil also has bilateral narcotics control agreements with all its South American neighbors, and with Germany and Italy. The Federal Police share liaison on counternarcotics matters with the U.S., Germany, Great Britain, France, The Netherlands, and Italy through narcotics officers of those countries posted to their embassies in Brasilia. Brazil has agreements facilitating extradition and integrating police operations with its Mercosur partners (Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay) and participates in a wide range of counternarcotics programs sponsored by UNDCP.


Brazil inherited a highly stratified society from the colonial system and from slavery, which persisted for nearly three generations after independence in 1822. The legacy of sharp socioeconomic stratification is reflected in Brazil's highly skewed income distribution, among the world's worst. The relatively high average per capita income (US$4,086 in 1995) masks deep inequality. As a developing country, Brazil faces a number of structural problems associated with poverty, skewed income distribution, and lack of access to high-quality public services, all of which result in a variety of social ills. Brazil is a country rich in resources and opportunities. Today, however, the poorest 20 percent of the Brazilian population earn only two percent of the national income, while the wealthiest ten percent receive 49.7 percent. An estimated 200,000 to 700,000 youth either live on the streets or spend their days there. International news reports often highlight alleged killings of street children attributed to extermination groups. A recent study by a respected Brazilian non-governmental organization, however, reports that the typical youthful victim is not killed by death squads and is not even a child. (Victims tend to be 15 to 17 years-old. Children, as defined by both Brazilian law and international treaties, are eleven years-old or younger). The main cause of violent death among Brazilian teenagers (excluding car accidents) stems from their vulnerability to the violence associated with the drug trade. According to most studies, youthful risk of exposure to violence--up to, and including, death--is a direct consequence of their extreme poverty, despair, and lack of promising opportunities for the future. Despite a high degree of socioeconomic inequality, class solidarity is not strong. Instead of horizontal class ties, numerous cross-cutting vertical relationships involve personal dependence on individuals who have more property and prestige. Given the circumstances, these relationships of clientelism and paternalism are advantageous for both patrons and clients. Because of the lack of effective government services and real possibilities for class action, the poor have few alternatives but to seek the protection of patrons. The traditional rural forms of patronage have been described as colonelism, referring to the fact that rural bosses often had military titles. Among other things, colonels (coronéis ) used their influence over their clientele for electoral purposes. In recent years, there have been frequent problems of violence in rural areas, involving landless rural workers, settlers, landowners or their representatives. Rural labor leaders have been threatened, menaced, and sometimes killed. Isolated instances of forced labor have also occurred in a few rural areas of Brazil.

For reasons of property transmission and religion, Brazilian society was originally strongly patriarchal. Men were expected to demonstrate their masculinity, while proper women were supposed to remain virgins until marriage and to be faithful to their husbands. This double standard also favored frequent consensual unions, illegitimacy, and prostitution. Such behavior was not entirely acceptable but was tolerated more readily in Brazil, generally speaking, than in North America and the rest of Latin America. Although women were allowed open access to schools and employment around the turn of the century and suffrage on a national level in 1933, they were not on an equal footing with men in family affairs. Men were automatically heads of households, and married women were legally subordinate to their husbands. Because of the inconvenience caused by informal remarriage, divorce was made legal in 1977. Under the constitution of 1988, women became entirely equal to men for all legal purposes. As Brazilian society moves away from patriarchy and toward gender equity, a high incidence of violence and abuse against women in Brazil has become apparent. Most of these incidents (almost 70 percent) take place in the home and are committed by close family members, usually a husband or a companion. In response to this problem state governments have established special women's police stations to deal with crimes against women. (Homicide is not viewed as a gender-specific crime and therefore is outside the mandate of the women's police stations.) There are roughly 150 women's police stations throughout Brazil, which offer, in additional to their primary investigative responsibilities, psychological and legal counseling. Women's police stations are staffed by specially trained professionals, most of whom are women. It is widely believed that even if these special police stations do not have an immediate impact on reducing violence against women, they clearly do encourage victims to report violence, thus making offenders more accountable for their actions, and increasing the likelihood that abusers will be prosecuted.


Internet research assisted by Alex Greene and Sean Wainwright. Additional statistical analysis and updates by Heng Hear

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