Brazil Country Report
Brazil elected far-right Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil on 28 October 2018, with 55% of the vote; this relatively strong mandate gives him scope to secure majority in Congress and pursue fiscal adjustment after inauguration on 1 January 2019. The president-elect will have to contend with a fiscal deficit of approximately 8% of GDP and public debt that is reaching unsustainable levels; also, he will have to ease heavy taxation and reform outdated labour laws to improve the business environment. The outgoing Michel Temer government, despite high unpopularity, got Brazil out of recession and achieved limited progress on privatisation and controlling public expenditure. Growth is forecast to be modest: 1% in 2018 and 1.5% in 2019.
Brazil is generally open to foreign direct investment; the previous government of Dilma Rousseff strongly favoured state support for strategic industries, stringent local content quotas. Trade protectionism has been a salient feature of Brazil. The outgoing Temer government made some progress towards economic liberalisation, including easing of regulations for foreign participation in telecommunications, airport, and port concessions as well as privatisation of electricity companies. Other sectors benefiting from economic liberalisation are oil and gas, particularly the pre-salt. There is significant uncertainty over whether the next government to be inaugurated in January 2019 will give continuity to such pro-business agenda.
There are not known terrorist groups in Brazil; however, organised crime poses significant threats to state security, targeting police. In São Paulo, intelligence-led operations against the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) gang have mitigated the threat; the last such attack in 2006 targeted dozens of police stations. In Rio de Janeiro, a policy of crime reduction in slums (favelas), which initially had some success, is being phased out due to lack of funding. The PCC controls drug and weapons-smuggling networks nationwide, particularly with Paraguay, and is trying to gain footholds in the northeast, where it is vying for control with Rio-based Comando Vermelho (CV).
Brazil has prioritised deployment of the military and police along its borders to curb crime – including drug trafficking, gunrunning, illegal mining and logging, and predatory fishing – and engaged its neighbours via security co-operation agreements, particularly with Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru. More recently, deployment has been stepped up on the border with Venezuela to contain refugee inflows. Further afield it has struck agreements with West African states to curb shared threats, such as the routing of drugs and sea piracy; it also contributes to UN peacekeeping in Haiti.
Labour unions strongly oppose the austerity measures likely to be implemented by the new government to be inaugurated in January 2019. These are likely to include a pension reform as well as privatisation. A proposed fiscal adjustment that will result in cuts to public expenditure in health and education as well as job losses in in the public sector would be triggers of unrest. Such measures are likely to be resisted through street protests. Truck drivers' strikes over fuel prices are becoming common occurrences. Demands for redistribution of land will continue to be a driver of occupations of large rural states.
Vaccines Required to Enter the Country
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers arriving from Angola or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.
Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for travelers to the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Distrito Federal (including the capital Brasília), Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, and Tocantins states; designated areas of Bahia, Paraná, Piauí, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo; and Iguazu Falls.
Much of the country is vulnerable to torrential rains and consequent flooding and landslides, including Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The rainy season in the south and southeast of the country runs from November until March, and from April to July in the northeast.
Brazil has high rates of road accidents (22.5 road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year) due to aggressive driving habits and poor maintenance of some roads. The quality of road conditions varies considerably from one area to another, but nearly 60 percent of Brazilian highways reportedly need repair.
Rates of petty and violent crime are high on public transportation in cities. The Rio and São Paulo metros are relatively safe but often overcrowded, leaving riders vulnerable to pickpocketing and unwanted sexual contact. Crime committed against car and bus passengers on the road remains a problem for both visitors and local residents, especially during evening travel and traffic jams (see CRIME section).
For safety reasons, only licensed taxis or chauffeured cars (e.g. Uber) should be used (see SECURITY section).
It is advisable to travel by air for any long trips; no Brazilian airlines are featured on the European Union's "blacklist" of airlines banned from EU airspace due to substandard security practices.
Given the vast size of the Brazilian territory, it is not surprising the climate varies throughout the county. Generally speaking, the months of December, January, and February are the hottest months (between 30°C and 40°C) with high levels of humidity and brief but frequent rain showers, particularly in the southeast (Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro). Winters in this region are mild and nights are often cool, particularly in Sao Paulo.
In the north of the country (Amazonia), the climate is tropical - hot and humid - with a rainy season (January to May) and a relatively dry season (June to October). In the Northeast Region the climate is temperate throughout the year (22°C to 28°C) with frequent rain showers from December to March. Inland climates are hot and very dry. The southern coast (Porto Alegre) enjoys a Mediterranean climate (hot summers, mild to cool winters). The highlands experience a cold winter with occasional snowfall.
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