Representative democracy is gradually consolidated. However, many concessions that President-elect Tancredo Neves negotiated with the military remain, including antistrike and repressive press laws as well as limitations on Congress. In urban areas, crime and drug trafficking intensify. In the rural interior, the struggle for land pits workers against landowners in armed conflicts.
Crime rates escalate in the favelas (shantytowns), many of which are controlled by organized crime. Evidence of corruption in the executive branch leads Congress to investigate 50 of its own members through a special committee. The Federal Police is routinely called in to investigate killings, some of which are thought to occur at the hands of the government's notorious Military Police.
Military occupation of the favelas and hills of Rio as a crime-fighting tactic lasts through the end of 1995 and leads to serious violations of civil rights, including torture. That same year sees the massacre of landless workers in the states of Rondônia and Pará. President Cardoso unveils a human rights plan and creates a division of the Federal Police to investigate human rights abuses.
Despite recognition of civil rights in the 1988 constitution, violations are common. Assaults and kidnappings are frequent in urban areas. Salary disparities and lack of transparency make the police and judiciary prone to corruption. A justice minister resigns over government refusal to investigate a corruption case. New president Lula da Silva vows that combating corruption will be a top priority.
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