Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Friday to talk about rural internet connectivity and efforts to conserve the Amazon rainforest.
The meeting took place in a resort in the state of São Paulo and was organized by the Minister of Communications Fabio Faria. The minister said he would like to partner with Musk to create or enhance internet connectivity in schools and health facilities in rural areas of the country using SpaceX and Starlink technology, as well as to preserve the Amazon rainforest.
“So excited to be in Brazil to launch Starlink for 19,000 Rural Unconnected Schools and Amazon Environmental Monitors,” Musk wrote in a Friday morning tweet.
The illegal activities of the rainforest are monitored by many entities, including the National Space Agency, the Federal Police and the environmental regulator Ibama.
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Deforestation in the Amazon saw a slight rise during Bolsonaro’s tenure as leader of Brazil. Last year’s data from the National Space Agency showed that rainforests have reached the highest annual rate of deforestation in 15 years.
Bolsonaro’s critics attribute this to the Brazilian president for encouraging loggers and land specialists with his enthusiastic support for the region’s development.
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During the event with Musk, the president said the rainforests are “really important” to Brazil.
“We are counting on Elon Musk so that the Amazon knows everyone in Brazil and in the world, to show us the abundance of this region, how we preserve it, and how much damage it does to us who spread lies about this region,” he said.
Bolsonaro and Mask appeared on stage and answered a group of students’ questions about the projects.
“A lot can be done to improve the quality of life through technology,” Musk said.
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Students did not ask about the billionaire’s possible purchase of Twitter, despite Bolsonaro’s comment that it represented “a breath of hope”.
“Freedom is the pillar of the future,” he said, adding that he believes Musk is a “myth of freedom.”
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Musk was set to take over Twitter after buying the company for $44 billion last month. But he revealed last week that the deal is temporarily on hold until the social media giant can back up its claims about the number of spam accounts on the platform.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.