Constitutional order. – The constitution in force in Brazil was promulgated on 10 November 1937 by President Getulio Vargas who abolished the constitution of 16 July 1934 (also revolutionary compared to that of 24 February 1891, amended in 1925 and 1926), and put on new foundations the state organization of Brazil. The figure of the president of the federal state predominates there. Elected from among citizens who have reached the age of 35, he remains in office for six years and, in addition to the normal prerogatives of the heads of state, has the power to issue decree-laws; to intervene in the administration of individual states by means of an interventor when special needs provided for by the constitution require it; to appoint ministers of state and some members of the Federal Council; to convene and close the sessions of Parliament. Two cases are foreseen for his election. If the outgoing president has not designated one of his candidates for the succession, the one designated by a special electoral college composed of: persons designated by the municipal chambers in a number proportional to the population of the individual states, but such as not to exceed, for each, 25 ; of 50 persons nominated by the National Economic Council on an equal basis between employers and workers; 25 members chosen by the Chamber of Deputies and 25 chosen by the Federal Council from among citizens of outstanding reputation. This college, from which the members of the national Parliament and the legislative assemblies of the individual states are excluded, it meets in the capital twenty days before the expiry of the presidential mandate and elects the new president. If the outgoing president has indicated a candidate, the election of the new president is up to the national electoral body, which will choose between the candidate of the outgoing president and the candidate proposed by the special electoral body.
The national parliament consists of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Council. The first is composed of the representatives of the individual states, in proportion to their population, so that each state does not have more than 10 or less than 3 deputies. In each state the deputies are elected, by indirect suffrage, by an electoral body composed of the municipal councilors and ten citizens chosen by direct suffrage at the same time as the election of the municipal council. The legislatures have a duration of four years. The Federal Council, in addition to ten members appointed by the President of the Republic, includes the representatives of the states, chosen, in each state, by the Legislative Assembly from among Brazilians by birth who are 35 years old and have, for at least 4 years, held a government office in Union or in the states. The governor of each state has the right to veto the member chosen by the Legislative Assembly; but if the latter designates the same person again by a two-thirds majority, the election is valid. The Federal Council’s legislature lasts for six years.
In addition to the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Council, there is a National Economic Council, which functions as a legislative and advisory body on the corporate organization of the republic, employment contracts, economic and social policy of the government. It is made up of representatives of the various branches of the national economy, chosen equally between employers and workers by professional associations and trade unions recognized by law, and is divided into five sections: industry and crafts; agriculture; trade; transport; credit. In the exercise of executive power, the president is assisted by the ministers, who are directly and solely responsible to him.
The Chamber of Deputies, in the event of a violation of the constitution by the president, may, by a majority of two thirds, refer him to the Federal Council, which is constituted in the High Court.
Ecclesiastical organization. – The diocese of Goyaz was elevated to metropolitan status in 1932, with suffragans Porto Nacional, and the prelatures nullius of Bananal, St. Joseph of Alto Tocantins, and that of Jatahy, created in 1929.
New dioceses have been established: Jaboticabal (1929), Rio Preto (1929) suffragans of St. Paul; Bomfim (1933j, of S. Salvador (Bahia); Mossoró (1934), of Parahyba; Caxias (1934), of Porto Alegre; moreover, the prelatures nullius of Guamá (1934; formerly Gurupy, 1928), Juruá (1931), Marajó (1928), Xingú (1934) suffragans of Belem (Pará); of Palmas (1933), suffragan of Curityba; of Diamantina (1929), Guajará Mirim (1929), suffragans of Cuyabá; of Paracatú (1929) and of Vaccaria (1934), suffragans, respectively of Diamantina and Porto Alegre.
Military aviation (p. -748). – The 12 squadrons were grouped into 7 regiments. The organization of the airports, which currently number 200, has been promoted. For Brazil military, please check militarynous.com.
Navy. – New units: Light cruisers: 2 in 8500 ton project. Destroyers: 3 under construction on North American designs, 1500 t. and 36 knots, armed with 5/127 and 3 quadruple 533 launch tubes. Submarines: 3 completed and 3 under construction in Italy by
nodes, armed with 6 pipes and 1/100. A 500 t gunboat. under construction. The troops were increased to 18,000 men.
Finance. – Below we give the figures of the financial statements from 1929 onwards.
At December 31, 1936, the external debt, calculated on the basis of 1 milreis carta = 5.9 pence, amounted to 6.2 million and the internal debt to 9.1 (of which 3.5 consolidated).
On November 22, 1930, convertibility into gold was suspended, and the Stabilization Fund was abolished (its functions of control of circulation were largely passed to Banco do Brasil), the gold reserve abroad was destined solely for the defense of the milreis, in course of devaluation from December 1929. The control of the bills was adopted in May 1931 and at the beginning of 1934 the compulsory course of the milreis carta was then decreed; (the ratio with the suppressed milreis oro was fixed at 8 mc = 1 mo for income and 10 mc = 1 mo for expenses). On October 15, 1936, the milreis was pegged to the dollar.
With the advent of the new government, at the end of 1937 it was decreed the abolition of the obligation for exporters to transfer 35% of foreign currencies to the Bank of Brazil (an obligation which from 1931 to 1934 had been integral) and therefore of the exchange official, the service of the foreign debt was suspended and the nationalization of the banks was decreed. The establishment of a central bank was also planned with a monopoly on the issue and control powers over all credit institutions. The decr. Law of 5 January 1938 restored the obligation to transfer export currencies to the Bank, and made it complete again.
As of December 31, 1937, notes in circulation (issued exclusively by the state which gradually replaced the Cassa and Banco do Brasil) totaled 4532 million. The reserve amounted to 156 million in gold and 239 million in currencies.
In addition to the Banco do Brasil (1906), which acts together as a central bank and commercial bank under the control of the state (the 1931 issue right has been summarized by the state), the main credit institutions are: the Banco da Provincia do Rio Grande do Sul (1858), the Banco do Commercio and Industria de São Paulo (1889), the Banco Nacional de Commercio (1895), the Banco commercial do Estado de São Paulo (1912).