The billionaire announced the “launch of Starlink for 19,000 disconnected schools in rural areas and for environmental monitoring of the Amazon”.
American billionaire Elon Musk announced Friday in Brazil the launch of an “environmental monitoring” program for the Amazon and improving its internet access, shortly before a meeting with President Jair Bolsonaro.
“I’m super excited to be in Brazil for the launch of Starlink to 19,000 unconnected schools in rural areas and for environmental monitoring in the Amazon”, tweeted the richest man in the world, owner of the company SpaceX and the automaker Tesla.
Musk “comes to offer his help to our Amazon”
In November, the Brazilian government announced negotiations for SpaceX to deploy satellite internet in the Amazon rainforest and help detect illegal deforestation. The meeting between the Brazilian president and the billionaire took place in the morning at a luxury hotel in Porto Feliz, about 100 km from São Paulo.
“As we are going to connect the Amazon, we brought (to Brazil) one of the greatest business leaders in the world to help us in this mission,” Communications Minister Fabio Faria said on Twitter, in a message illustrated with two photos. him next to Elon Musk, at the hotel in question. Journalists present were kept at a distance from the establishment, surrounded by an important security device, noted an AFP team, who saw President Bolsonaro quickly get out of the car on his arrival to greet law enforcement before entering the hotel.
On Thursday night, he announced that he would have a “private” meeting in São Paulo “with a very important person and known throughout the world”. This person “comes to offer his help to our Amazon”, said the president in his weekly live on social networks. The Amazon is a hot topic in Brazil and in that country’s relations with the international community. Deforestation has increased sharply under the Bolsonaro government, accused of promoting impunity for prospectors, ranchers or timber traffickers who illegally deforest the rainforest.
“For Bolsonaro, this meeting is positive, because they should discuss improving surveillance of the Amazon,” said Oliver Stuenkel, professor of international relations at Fundação Getulio Vargas. “But it is above all a facade of speech, experts believe that the problem of deforestation is not the lack of monitoring, the Brazilian system is very sophisticated. The problem comes from the lack of intervention of environmental control agents”, he adds.
According to a study by the NGO collective Mapbiomas, the environmental protection agencies of the Bolsonaro government intervened after less than 3% of deforestation alerts detected by the satellites of the monitoring system currently in place. Elon Musk became a hero of the bolsonarista clan when he announced his intention to buy Twitter last month, promising less restrictive moderation in the name of free speech. Muito ativo nas redes sociais, Jair Bolsonaro viu várias de suas publicações deletadas, inclusive no Twitter, por desinformação.
O Globo reported that the meeting will be held in the presence of two ministers, Fabio Faria and Defense, Paulo Sergio Nogueira, as well as 13 businessmen, including the heads of the country’s main telecommunications companies. SpaceX launched in mid-February a second shipment of about fifty Starlink service satellites intended to provide an internet connection to customers around the world. Starlink allows residents of areas underserved by fixed and mobile networks to access high-speed Internet via thousands of small satellites.
Elon Musk is at the head of a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at 230 billion dollars. He recently announced his intention to buy the social network Twitter for 44 billion dollars, before suspending this project conditional on obtaining data on the proportion of fake accounts.