Brazil Country Report
Michel Temer has been serving as president since May 2016. He has entered his final year in office weakened by corruption and dwindling support in Congress. Brazil next general election is staged for October 2018 with the country's political outlook highly uncertain. Brazil is coming out of recession; GDP shrank 3.6% in 2016 and unemployment surged to 11.3%; however, growth is picking up and is forecast at 1% and 2.2% for 2017 and 2018 respectively. The Temer government is struggling with an unsustainable fiscal deficit of about 9% of GDP, but implementation of austerity has been blocked by Congress. Under Temer the privatisation of airports and power distributors has advanced. Foreign investment is constrained by heavy taxation, outdated labour laws, corruption, and excessivebureaucratic burden.
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, and trade protectionism. There has been a significant shift under the current Temer government, which has undertaken an ambitious economic liberalisation agenda in efforts to attract private investment. Regulations for foreign participation in telecommunications, airport, and port concessions have been eased. It is also promoting a privatisation programme, comprising national and regional electricity companies. Other sectors benefiting from economic liberalisation are oil and gas, particularly the pre-salt, as well as airlines; full foreign ownership for the latter is being considered.
There are no 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, the Police Pacification Units scheme (unidades de polícia pacificadora: UPPs) in favelas, which initially reduced crime, is faltering due to lack of funding and low police morale. The PCC controls drug and weapons-smuggling networks nationwide, particularly with Paraguay, and is trying to gain footholds in the northeast. In Rio, Comando Vermelho remains the dominant gang.
Brazil has prioritised deployment of the military, police, and other state agencies along its borders to curb crime – including drug trafficking, gunrunning, illegal mining and logging, and predatory fishing – and matched that with security co-operation agreements with its neighbours, particularly Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru. 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.
Economically and politically motivated grievances are driving social unrest in Brazil. The indictment of former president Lula on corruption charges and his potential imprisonment is likely to trigger large-scale protests; Lula is leading in the opinions polls and his supporters see the indictment as a right-wing conspiracy. Labour federations and other left-wing groups strongly oppose the Michel Temer government's pension and labour reforms and have vowed to resist through street protests. Recession and growing unemployment increase the likelihood of strikes over job losses. Demands for redistribution of land will continue to be a driver of occupations of large rural states.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - for those travelling to the Amazon region, mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin); none for travel to the rest of the country.
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
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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