BRAZIL'S HALTING STEPS TOWARD DEMOCRACY

1500. Discovered by Portuguese navigator Pedro Cabral; ruled as Portuguese colony. 1822. Becomes independent monarchy.

1889. Nation becomes a federal republic with constitutional democratic rule.

1930. Military coup installs Getulio Vargas as president. Military forces resignation in '45.

1946. Election places Gen. Eurico Dutra in presidency. New constitution adopted. Vargas, Juscelino Kubitschek, and Janio Quadros elected president in ' 50, '56, '60.

1961. Vice-President Joao Goulart becomes president. Left-of-center government plagued by inflation, economic decline.

1964. Military replaces Goulart with Marshal Humberto Castello Branco. Existing political parties banned; two new parties recognized. Political and press freedoms curtailed and leftist movements repressed. Direct presidential elections abolished.

1966. Marshal Artur de Costa e Silva becomes president. Public grows increasingly restless under authoritarian rule.

1969. Military designates Gen. Emilio Garrastazu Medici to succeed Silva. Government cracks down on urban guerrillas. New Constitution allows indirect presidential election. Economy grows 11 percent a year, spawning ''economic miracle.''

1974. Gen. Ernesto Geisel named president. Despite his promises to restore democracy and press freedom, political arrests continue. Opposition makes gains in congressional elections. Economic growth slows.

1978. Gen. Joao Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo named president. Figueiredo promises further moves toward full democracy. New political parties allowed to form.

1981. Economy declines 1.9 percent. Inflation runs at 120 percent in early ' 81.

1982. Government party fails to win majority of lower-house seats in congressional election. Government declares moratorium on debt repayment, appeals to IMF.

1983. Figueiredo limits authority of governors. Public presses for direct presidential election. Inflation reaches 211 percent; foreign debt, $92 billion, is world's largest.

1984. Figueiredo proposes direct presidential election in '88, then retracts pledge.

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