Brazil: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Brazil including the Carnival, end of slavery, and censorship.

BRAZIL

NOTES

While Brazil's booming economy has brought great wealth to the country as a whole and to certain groups in particular, not all Brazilians have benefited. It is estimated that as much as 60% of the population is basically unaffected by this new wealth. In the drought-ridden northeast, Brazil's poorest area, the standard of living has in some cases actually been reduced. The Government has stated its preference for increasing the country's income 1st, and redistributing the wealth later.

Censorship exists on every level. Some publications have a resident censor; others self-censor their material or submit it to a board. Song lyrics are censored, and the tunes themselves are scrutinized for double meanings or subversive connotation. Many foreign films do not pass the censor, but Brazilians interested in such forbidden films as A Clockwork Orange and Last Tango in Paris have organized short jaunts to neighboring Uruguay.

Brazil has officially opposed population control, fearing that it will hinder economic development. Abortions are strictly outlawed, but even so there are 1.5 million illegal abortions performed yearly.

Brazil's irresponsibility toward its Indian population has aroused protest both from the Church and civic groups at home, and from concerned groups abroad. Reports of deliberately spread disease, massacres, and callous neglect have filtered out from the interior. Some observers believe that an unofficial policy of genocide has been adopted in order to clear the way for settlement of the area.

The Brazilian National Indian Foundation confirmed that it had found a tribe of blue-eyed, brown-haired, bearded Indians. The tribe numbers about 100 members, and lives in a remote Amazon area.

The Carnival in Rio lasts from the Saturday before Ash Wednesday until Wednesday evening. It is a time of massive exuberance and colorful display of costumes and dancing. All businesses, shops, and offices shut down, and no one seems to go to bed. The streets are jammed for 4 days with dancing, singing people, and there are competitions among various clubs for the best samba dances.

Emperor Dom Pedro II was morally opposed to slavery, but for political reasons he favored a gradual rather than immediate abolition. While he was on a trip to Europe in 1888, his daughter Isabel freed all the slaves without compensation to their owners. This caused the conservative landowners to drop their support of Dom Pedro and the monarchy was easily deposed in 1889. Dom Pedro went to France, where he died 2 years later.

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