Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – CEO of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met Friday to discuss connectivity and other projects in the Amazon rainforest.
The meeting, which took place in a luxury resort in the state of São Paulo, was organized by Communications Minister Fabio Faria, who said he seeks partnerships with the world’s richest man to bring or improve the Internet in schools and health facilities in rural areas using technology developed by SpaceX and Starlink as well as to maintain Rainforest.
“So excited to be in Brazil to launch Starlink for 19,000 Rural Disconnected Schools and Amazon Environmental Watch,” Musk tweeted Friday morning.
Illegal activities in the vast Amazon rainforest are monitored by several institutions, such as the National Space Agency, the Federal Police and the environmental regulator Ibama.
But deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased under Bolsonaro, reaching its highest annual rate in more than a decade, according to official data from the National Space Agency. Critics say Bolsonaro is largely to blame, having encouraged loggers and land specialists with his strong support for the region’s development.
During the event, Bolsonaro said the region is “really important” to Brazil.
“We count on Elon Musk so that the Amazon is known to everyone in Brazil and in the world, to show us the abundance of this region, how we preserve it, and how much harm is done to us by those who spread lies about this region,” he said.
Bolsonaro and Musk appeared in a video broadcast live on the president’s Facebook account, standing together on stage and answering questions from a group of students.
“A lot can be done to improve the quality of life through technology,” Musk told the audience.
Although none of the students asked about Musk’s potential purchase of Twitter, Bolsonaro said it represented “a breath of hope.”
“Freedom is the cement of the future,” he said, calling the billionaire a “myth of freedom.”
Musk offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, but this week said the deal could not go ahead The company even provides information about the number of accounts on the platform that are spam or bots.
Like Musk, Bolsonaro has sought to present himself as a champion of free speech and opposed the attrition of individuals including his ally, former US President Donald Trump.
The meeting with Bolsonaro comes just five months before the far-right leader seeks a second term in a hotly anticipated election.
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