The Punxsutawney Spirit

Elon Musk visits Brazil’s Bolsonaro to discuss Amazon plans


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Tesla and SpaceX chief executive officer Elon Musk met with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday to discuss connectivi­ty and other projects in the Amazon rainforest.

The meeting, held in a luxurious resort in Sao Paulo state, was organized by Communicat­ions Minister Fábio Faria, who has said he is seeking partnershi­ps with the world’s richest man to bring or improve internet in schools and health facilities in rural areas using technology developed by SpaceX and Starlink, and also to preserve the rainforest.

“Super excited to be in Brazil for launch of Starlink for 19,000 unconnecte­d schools in rural areas & environmen­tal monitoring of Amazon,” Musk tweeted Friday morning.

Illegal activities in the vast Amazon rainforest are monitored by several institutio­ns, such as the national space agency, federal police and environmen­tal regulator Ibama.

But deforestat­ion in the Brazilian Amazon has surged under Bolsonaro, reaching its highest annual rate in more than a decade, according to official data from the national space agency. Bolsonaro’s critics say he is largely to blame, having emboldened loggers and land grabbers with his fervent support for developmen­t of the region.

The meeting with Bolsonaro occurs just five months before the far-right leader will seek a second term in a hotly anticipate­d election.

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