Jair Bolsonaro on the sidelines of tech entrepreneur Elon Musk's visit to Porto Feliz near São Paulo
Photo: FILIPE ARAUJO / AFP
US billionaire Elon Musk met Jair Bolsonaro in a luxury hotel in Porto Feliz near São Paulo this morning.
The right-wing populist president of Brazil described Musk's planned takeover of Twitter as a "glimmer of hope".
The politician himself uses the medium intensively to spread his messages.
He hopes the US billionaire will help end the "lies" about his widely criticized Amazon policies, said Bolsonaro, who criticized that the major social media platforms are now cracking down on posts that are disinformation.
For example, Facebook had already deleted a comment by Bolsonaro himself, in which he falsely claimed in 2021 that people in Great Britain who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 were susceptible to AIDS.
Tesla boss Musk had presented himself as the guardian of freedom in the past few days and vowed on Twitter to defend the right to freedom of expression.
Bolsonaro has now praised this.
Musk is a "legend of freedom," he said.
He also immediately posted a picture of the two on Twitter.
In terms of content, it was about investments, innovation and the use of technology, especially in the Amazon region.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has been criticized around the world for advocating more mining and farming in the Amazon.
Recent satellite data shows that deforestation, often illegal by farmers in the Brazilian Amazon, has risen to a 15-year high during his tenure.
Environmentalists criticize that Bolsonaro allows this.
Satellite technology for the Amazon
When meeting Musk at the hotel, the allegations seem far away.
"It was like a breath of hope for us here," Bolsonaro said.
Brazilian government officials spoke to the tech entrepreneur, who recently attracted attention primarily through his SpaceX rocket program, about the use of the Starlink satellite network in the Amazon region.
The goal: to bring internet to rural schools and to be able to better monitor the rainforest.
"Since we're going to connect the Amazon, we've brought one of the world's largest entrepreneurs here to help us with this mission," Brazilian Communications Minister Fábio Faria said of Musk's visit.
Business leaders such as Telecom Italia CEO Pietro Labriola and Banco BTG Pactual Chairman Andre Esteves also attended the event.
Musk tweeted about the visit: "I am delighted to be in Brazil to launch Starlink for 19,000 unaffiliated rural schools and environmental monitoring of the Amazon." His SpaceX company now has numerous Starlink satellites in the world space that can provide high-speed internet to remote regions.
So far, however, it is unclear exactly what improvements the Starlink system is supposed to bring.
The Brazilian space agency INPE is already monitoring the Amazon from space.
For Bolsonaro, the visit may also have been significant in terms of global politics.
After all, he has recently become increasingly isolated internationally, particularly because of his benevolent attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After losing an ally in the White House in Donald Trump, Bolsonaro is now speaking to Musk, who recently also showed sympathy for the Republican Party.
The Brazilian President, on the other hand, has not spoken to Joe Biden, even almost a year and a half after the new US President took office.