Elon Musk made a surprise visit to Brazil on Friday to discuss Starlink connectivity with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and other projects in the Amazon, and Bolsonaro hailed Musk’s proposed $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter as “a breath of hope.”
Fábio Faria, Brazil’s minister of communications, said he had invited Musk to discuss Internet connectivity in rural areas of the country and ways to monitor deforestation and preserve the Amazon.
Musk said in a tweet he was excited to be in Brazil for the “launch of Starlink for 19,000 unconnected schools in rural areas & environmental monitoring of Amazon.
In a video posted to Bolsonaro’s Facebook account, Musk answered questions about self-driving cars and the positive effect he thinks they will have on the economy from a group of students.
None of the students brought up Musk’s $44 billion proposed deal to buy Twitter, but Bolsonaro said "for us here, it was like a breath of hope.”
During the meeting outside of Sao Paulo, Bolsonaro said Musk was “a legend of freedom,” according to an Associated Press translation.
Bolsonaro has had several Twitter posts removed after the company determined he was spreading false information about the Covid-19 pandemic and Brazil’s voting system. Bolsonaro has championed free speech, like Musk, and has opposed social media companies banning former President Donald Trump. Musk said last week his deal to purchase Twitter is on hold, citing concerns about the number of spam accounts on the platform, but Twitter executives reportedly told employees Thursday the deal was not on hold and that it is proceeding as planned.
During Friday’s event, Bolsonaro said the Amazon region is “really important” to Brazil, but he has been criticized for his support of development in the Amazon region. Deforestation reached its highest annual rate in over a decade under Bolsonaro’s administration, according to a report released last year from Imazon, a Brazilian research institute that has been tracking the Amazon deforestation since 2008. “Deforestation is still out of control,” Carlos Souza, a researcher at Imazon, told the Guardian.
$204.6 billion. That’s Musk’s net worth, according to Forbes’ estimates, making him the richest person on the planet.
SpaceX, one of Musk’s companies, paid $250,000 in 2018 to settle sexual harassment allegations against Musk, Insider reported Thursday. A SpaceX flight attendant alleged Musk “exposed his genitals” during a flight to London in 2016, according to documents and emails reviewed by Insider. Musk dismissed the article as a “politically motivated hit piece” and claimed there was “a lot more to this story.”