By Jane Marcus-Delgado and Ralph Espach

This report was prepared by Jane Marcus-Delgado, doctoral candidate in Latin American Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The John Hopkins University, and Ralph Espach, Research Assistant at the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. It summarizes the presentations and discussion from an all-day conference held at the Wilson Center on February 25, 1997.


From the Introduction

Democracy reemerged in Brazil in 1985, after two decades of authoritarian rule by the military. In the twelve years since then Brazil has seen its share of challenges, including a presidential impeachment, a controversial new constitution, and its worst economic crisis of the century. Despite this turbulence--and partly because of it--the mood in the country has become somewhat optimistic. The current administration, under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, has stabilized the economy and is pushing for changes in the constitution that will enable him to address the country's fiscal, political, and social concerns in a more focused manner. Brazil is also enlarging its presence as a regional and global actor, through the expansion of Mercosul, and increasing bilateral exchanges with countries around the globe. After two years in office, President Cardoso enjoys wide popular support.