Location: Eastern South America, bordering theAtlantic Ocean, between Guyana and Colombia Area: Total: 8,514,877 sq km Country comparison to the world: 5 Land: 8,459,417 sq km Water: 55,460 sq km note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando deNoronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, IlhasMartin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e SaoPaulo Area – comparative: Slightly smaller than the U.S. Land boundaries: Total: 16,885 km Border countries: Argentina 1,261 km, Bolivia3,423 km, Colombia 1,644 km, French Guiana 730km, Guyana 1,606 km, Paraguay 1,365 km, Peru2,995 km, Suriname 593 km, Uruguay 1,068 km,Venezuela 2,200 km Coastline: 7,491 km
Religion in Brazil has a higher level of devotion incomparison to other Latin American nations, and is morevaried. Brazil is rich in spiritual society, created as a result of theRoman Catholic Church’s meeting with the religiouscustoms of African slaves and native tribes; thisconvergence of faiths in the Portuguese colonization ofBrazil brought about the development of a various group ofsyncretistic practices within the overarching umbrella ofBrazilian Roman Catholicism, distinguished by customaryPortuguese festivities. Catholicism was until recent times overwhelminglyprevailing. Rapid change seen in the 21st century has caused anincrease in secularism (no religious affiliation) andEvangelical Protestantism to more than 22% of thepopulation. The 2010 census revealed that less than 65% of Braziliansregard themselves as Catholic, a significant decline from90% in 1970, leading Cardinal Cláudio Hummes to remark“We wonder with anxiety: How long will Brazil remain aCatholic country?”
Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6% Protestant 15.4% Spiritualist 1.3% Bantu/voodoo 0.3% Other 1.8% Unspecified 0.2% None 7.4% (2000 census)
Brazil’s politics function in a structure of a federal presidential democratic republic; thePresident is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party structure. Brazil’s political and administrative organization consist of the federal government, thestates, the federal district, and the municipalities. The federal government exercises control over the central government and is split into threeindependent branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The President, guided by a cabinet, exercises executive authority. Legislative power is vested upon the National Congress, a two-chamber legislature consistingof the Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The judiciary, comprising the Supreme Federal Court, the Superior Court of Justice and otherSuperior Courts, such as the National Justice Council and the Regional Federal Courts.
Capital: Brasília Largestcity: São Paulo Official languages: Portuguese Demonym: Brazilian Government: Federal presidential constitutionalrepublic President: Dilma Rousseff (PT) Vice President: Michel Temer (PMDB) President of the Chamber of Deputies:Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB) President of the Senate: Renan Calheiros(PMDB) President of the Supreme Federal Court:Joaquim Barbosa Legislature: National Congress Upper house: Federal Senate Lower house: Chamber of Deputies
Born in Belo Horizonte on 14 December 1947. 36th and current President of Brazil since 1 January 2011; is the first woman tooccupy the post. Previously served as the Chief of Staff to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from2005-2010. Daughter of a Bulgarian industrialist; was raised in an upper middle class housein Belo Horizonte. Became a socialist during her childhood; was recruited by several left-wing andMarxist urban guerilla groups that fought in opposition to the militarydictatorship after the 1964 coup détat. Was eventually detained and jailed between 1970-1972, during which she wasallegedly tormented. Remade her life in Porto Alegre with Carlos Araújo following her discharge; hewould be her partner for 30 years. Was a co-founder of the Democratic Labour Party (PDT) in Rio Grande do Sul;took part in a number of the party’s electoral campaigns. Became the Secretary of the Treasury of the City of Porto Alegre in the AlceuCollares Administration, and subsequently the Secretary of Energy of the State ofRio Grande do Sul under both the Collares and Olívio Dutra administrations. Left the PDT in 2000 and joined the Workers’ Party (PT) after an interior quarrelin the Dutra cabinet. In 2002, she Joined the commission liable for the energy policy of presidentialnominee Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who upon his victory in the election, invitedher to become Minister of Energy. A political disaster caused by a bribery scandal led to Chief of Staff José Dirceu’sresignation in 2005; Rousseff assumed the post, and remained in office until 31March 2010, when she stepped down to run for President. Was elected in a run-off round on 31 October 2010.
Born in Tietê, São Paulo, on 23 September 1940. 25th and current VP of Brazil since 1 January 2011;assumed office after standing as the running mateof Workers’ Party nominee Dilma Rousseff in the2010 election. Also serves as the President of the BrazilianDemocratic Movement Party, but is currentlydisqualified from that office to follow BrazilianLaw and to execute his responsibilites as VP. Previously served for six consecutive terms asFederal Deputy for the state of São Paulo in theChamber of Deputies; served three different termsas President of the Chamber (1997-1998, 1999-2000, and 2009-2010). Was also a member of the 1988 NationalConstituent Assembly, which published thecurrent Constitution of Brazil.
President of the Chamber of Deputies ofBrazil since 4 February 2013.
Born in Murici, Alagoas, on 16 September 1955. Current President of the Senate of Brazil; he is in his third term. Represents the state of Alagoas in the senate for the Brazilian DemocraticMovement Party. Was accused by Veja magazine, on 25 May 2007, of accepting funds from alobbyist to pay for the child support of a daughter from a former extramaritalaffair with journalist Monica Veloso. In attempting to defend the source of the funds, later examinations on hiscompany dealings brought about other disclosures about income tax scam andthe use of a proxy to purchase a stake in a radio station. Was subject to a penalizing investigation by the senate’s ethics commission onfour different charges. On 12 September 2007, the senate voted through secret ballot against impeachinghim on the lobby funds charge, even though he is still facing three differentinquisitions on other accusations. Subsequent to the vote, the public anger which followed made Congress to doaway with secret ballot votes for ethnics infringement, meaning his three otherinquisitions, if approved by the ethnic commission, will be subject to an openballot vote in the senate floor. Resigned as President of the Senate on 11 October 2007; took a 45-day leave ofabsence from that post. The ethics inquiries will carry on through the senate commissions. Worked for both the Fernando Collor de Mello and Fernando Henrique Cardosogovernments. Was again elected President of the Brazilian Senate on 1 February 2013. Due to the above listed claims, many Brazilians were disappointed by his electionand some began an online petition for his impeachment; from February 2013, itwas signed by over 1.3 million Brazilians.
Born in Paracatu, Minas Gerais, on 7 October 1954. Justice minister of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazilsince 25 June 2003 and current Chief Justice of Brazil since17 November 2012. Even though many people think he is the first blackdescendant to become justice minister in the BrazilianSupreme Court, he is in fact the third one; he was precededby: Hermenegildo de Barros (from 1919-1937) Pedro Lessa (from 1907-1921) In contrast, Brazil does not use the “one-drop rule”, or “oneblack ancestor rule”; for that reason, in this nation, he isregarded as the first black just minister to serve in Brazil’sSupreme Court. Studied law at the University of Brasília (1979). Has a Master (1990) and a Doctor (1993) of Laws from DEA– Droit Public Interne – Pantheon-Assas University. Was a member of the Federal Public Ministry and AdjunctProfessor at Rio de Janeiro State University. Was also a visiting scholar at the Human Rights Institute atColumbia Law School in New York (1999-2000) and atUCLA School of Law (2002-2003).