Elon Musk in Brazil to launch a plan to probe and connect Amazon

Billionaire Elon Musk arrived in Brazil on Friday, announcing a project to bring Internet access to schools in the Amazon and improve satellite monitoring of the rainforest.

The richest man in the world landed in a private jet at an airport outside Sao Paulo, according to news portal G1.

Mush was expected to meet with Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro at a luxury hotel in Porto Feliz, about 100 kilometers from São Paulo, according to the newspaper O Globo.

“Super excited to be in Brazil for the launch of Starlink for 19,000 unconnected schools in rural areas and Amazon’s environmental monitoring!” tweeted Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla.

Communications Minister Fabio Faria, who met Musk in Texas last November, tweeted that the businessman was visiting “to discuss Amazon connectivity and protection with the Brazilian government.”

He added: “As we connect the Amazon, we have brought one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world to help us on this mission.”

A large security force kept reporters at a distance from the hotel where the meeting was to take place. An AFP reporter saw two helicopters land nearby.

‘A very important person’

On Thursday, Bolsonaro announced that he would have a meeting “with a very important person who is recognized throughout the world”.

“He is coming to offer his help for our Amazon,” the president said in his weekly social media broadcast, without naming Musk.

The Amazon is a hot topic in Brazil, with deforestation soaring under the Bolsonaro government, accused of promoting impunity for gold miners, farmers and timber traffickers who illegally clear the rainforest.

The Brazilian government said in November that it was negotiating with SpaceX to secure satellite internet in the Amazon rainforest and increase detection of illegal deforestation.

In an effort to provide high-speed Internet around the world, particularly in areas with poor fixed and mobile networks, Musk’s SpaceX company has put thousands of Starlink satellites into orbit, with many more planned launches.

The service has more than 100,000 subscribers around the world.

Musk attracted renewed worldwide attention when he announced last month that he intended to buy Twitter in a deal worth $ 44 billion.

His comments on easing restrictions in the name of freedom of expression have been welcomed by many supporters of Bolsonaro, accused of using fake news as a political weapon and who has deleted several posts on social media.

O Globo said Faria and Defense Minister Paulo Sergio Nogueira will attend the Musk-Bolsonaro meeting, along with 13 business leaders, including the heads of the country’s major telecommunications companies.

The meeting comes hours after Musk dismissed allegations on Twitter that he attempted and exposed himself to a flight attendant six years ago.