Brazil Politics and Law

National symbols

According to, the national flag of Brazil is made of green cloth with a yellow rhombus (symbol of the wealth of diamonds) in the middle. In it a blue sky disc with the image of the southern starry sky; the number of stars corresponds to the number of administrative units. The star above the white arch, inclined diagonally from left to right, symbolizes the federal district of the capital Brasília. The arch bears the words “Ordem e Progresso” (order and progress). – The coat of arms (1889) shows in the center on a blue disk the constellation Southern Cross, framed by a white blue band with 26 stars (for the states). The disc rests on a large, five-pointed, green-gold faceted star (symbol of unity and independence). It is framed by a fruit-bearing coffee plant and a flowering tobacco plant. A sword with a blue bow appears under the star as a star holder. Everything is underlaid with a corona of rays. The banner under the coat of arms contains the official name of the country and the date of the proclamation of the republic.

The national holiday is September 7th. It commemorates independence in 1822.


The trade union confederations include the PT-related Central Unica dos Trabalhadores (CUT; 7.8 million members) and the PDMB-related União Geral dos Trabalhadores (UGT; 1.4 million members).


The total strength of the conscription army (service period 12 to 18 months) is around 318,000, that of the paramilitary militias of the federal states 395,000 men. The army (around 190,000 soldiers) has 25 brigades of combat troops, a special forces brigade and several combat support units of regimental and battalion strength (artillery, air defense, pioneers). The Air Force and Navy (including Marines) have 70,000 and 74,000 men, respectively.


The lower level of federal jurisdiction consists of federal courts located in all individual states and five regional federal courts as appeal bodies. The upper level is formed by the Supreme Court of Justice and the Supreme Federal Court (both in Brasília), whose members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The individual states also have their own two-tier jurisdiction. The federal courts are only competent if expressly assigned by the constitution, everything else, including the federally regulated civil, commercial and criminal law, falls under the jurisdiction of the national courts. The violation of federal law can be reprimanded before the Supreme Court of Justice and the violation of constitutional law before the Supreme Federal Court of Justice. There is a separate federal jurisdiction for labor law. In 2003 a new civil code came into force with German, Italian and French influences and into which large parts of the commercial code of 1850 were integrated. Strong emphasis is placed on the social function of property and the protection of the weaker contracting party. In accordance with the 1988 Constitution, gender equality and illegitimate children were also introduced. A law for the protection of the consumer, which is of great relevance in practice, has been in force since 1990. In 1979 the death penalty was abolished.


Few corporations with good connections to politics, including the Marinho family’s largest Latin American media company, Grupo Globo, face smaller media that depend on public subsidies.

Press: Around 450 newspapers appear in Brazil every day. In relation to the size of the population, the circulation of the regional daily newspapers is low. The largest company is O Globo Empresa Jornalistica Brasileira Ltda. (Rio de Janeiro), where i.a. “O Globo” and “Extra” appear. The largest daily newspapers also include »Fôlha de São Paulo« by the Grupo Fôlha (São Paulo), »Super Notícia« (Belo Horizonte) and »O Estado de São Paulo« by the Mesquita family. The companies Globo and Editora Abril dominate the magazine market and together publish almost half of the titles on offer. The largest weekly magazine is “Veja” (Abril) and “Época” (Globo), founded in 1968.

News agencies: In addition to Agência Brasil, most press publishers run their own news agencies that work with international agencies.

Radio: The most popular mass medium is television. State, private and church broadcasting companies operate around 3,400 radio stations and 1,300 television stations; the largest families of broadcasters are “Rede Globo”, “Rede Record de Televisão” (including with the news channel “Record News”), “Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão” (SBT), Rede Bandeirantes and “Rede TV”. The state broadcasting companies with “TV Brasil”, “TV Brasil Internacional” and “Rádio Nacional” are combined in the Empresa Brasil de Comunicacão (EBC, founded in 2007).


Fortaleza [-za; Portuguese »fortress«], capital of the state of Ceará, Brazil, on the northeast coast at the mouth of the Rio Pajeú, (2018) 2.64 million residents (in the metropolitan area 3.94 million residents).

2 universities (founded in 1955 and 1973), historical museum; Archbishopric; Castelão Stadium (opened in 1973, remodeled in 2000/01 and 2011/12; one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup); Port of export (Ponta de Mucuripe, 6 km east of the city) for sugar, cotton, rubber, hides, coffee, rice, salt, rum; Food, leather, textile industries; Lobster fishing; Tourism; international Airport.

Fortaleza was founded in the early 17th century as a Portuguese fort against Indian attacks and has been the capital of the state of Ceará since 1819.

Brazil Politics