RIO DE JANEIRO – Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk met Friday with Brazilian President Zaire Bolsonaro to discuss connectivity and other projects in the Amazon rainforest.
Musk tweeted Friday morning, “Excited to come to Brazil to launch Starlink for 19,000 unconnected schools in rural areas and for Amazon’s environmental monitoring.”
According to official data from the National Space Agency, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has increased under Bolsonaro, reaching its highest annual rate in more than a decade. Critics of Bolsonaro say he is largely to blame, encouraging loggers and land grabbers with his enthusiastic support for the region’s development.
Bolsonaro and Musk appeared in a video broadcast live on the president’s Facebook account, standing together on a stage and answering questions from a group of students.
“Much can be done to improve the quality of life through technology,” Musk told the crowd.
Although none of the students asked about Musk’s potential purchase of Twitter, Bolsonaro said it represented a “breath of hope”.
“Independence is the cement for the future,” he said.
Musk offered to buy Twitter for 44 billion, but said this week that the deal could not go ahead until the company provided information on how many accounts were spam or bots on the platform.
Like Musk, Bolsonaro has sought to position himself as a champion of freedom of speech and has opposed the perversion of individuals, including his ally, former US President Donald Trump.
The meeting with Bolsonaro will take place just five months before the right-wing leader will seek a second term in a hotly anticipated election.