Jair Bolsonaro meets Elon Musk

Jair Bolsonaro meets Elon Musk
From the left: Communications Minister Fábio Faria, Elon Musk, Jair Bolsonaro, and his translator. Photo: Still from Facebook Live

On Friday morning, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took a trip to the São Paulo city of Porto Feliz to meet up with billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk, who is visiting the country for a Space X launch event.

Mr. Musk, who is the richest man in the world, stood alongside Mr. Bolsonaro and Communications Minister Fábio Faria while delivering a 30-minute speech on how technology can help protect the Amazon rainforest and benefit rural Brazilian schools.

The Space X CEO has had a number of dealings with Brazil recently, not least a long-term agreement between mining major Vale and Mr. Musk’s electric vehicle firm Tesla, with the Brazilian company pledging to supply Tesla with Class 1 nickel for the production of vehicle batteries.

Several members of the cabinet were in attendance, as well as a number of prominent Brazilian business owners. Mr. Musk announced the launch of Starlink satellites to connect up to 19,000 rural Amazonian schools to the internet.

After Mr. Musk’s address, President Bolsonaro also delivered a short speech to those in attendance, lauding the billionaire’s recent offer to acquire social media platform Twitter. “For us, it was like a glimmer of hope. There are people all over the world who want to steal our freedom, and freedom is the seed for the future,” said Mr. Bolsonaro.

Mr. Musk later received a medal of honor for “services to Brazil,” delivered by President Bolsonaro and Defense Minister Paulo Sérgio Nogueira de Oliveira.

Elon Musk has been in today’s media spotlight for different reasons, however, amid reports that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a Space X corporate jet, who was allegedly paid USD 250,000 to settle the claims as part of a 2018 severance agreement. Mr. Musk denies any wrongdoing.