• Jair Bolsonaro met with Elon Musk on Friday to discuss internet connectivity and the Amazon.
  • Brazil’s president praised Musk’s offer to buy Twitter for $44 billion as a “breath of hope.”
  • Bolsonaro has previously been accused of trying to silence critics on Twitter.

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has praised Elon Musk’s proposed $44 billion buyout of Twitter and said it represents a “breath of hope.”

Associated Press first reported the story.

The Brazilian president, who described the billionaire as a “legend of freedom,” has previously been accused of trying to silence critics on Twitter by blocking users. 

Maria Laura Canineu, Brazil director at Human Rights Watch, said in August last year that Bolsonaro “is trying to rid his social media accounts of people and institutions that disagree with him and turn them into spaces where only applause is allowed, part of a broader effort to silence or marginalize critics.”

The human rights group added: “This prevents blocked people from participating in public debate, violates their free speech rights, and discriminates against them on the basis of their opinions.”

Bolsonaro’s office was contacted for comment by Insider.

Bolsonaro and the tech mogul met on Friday in Sao Paulo. The meeting was arranged by Brazil’s communications minister, Fábio Faria, with the aim of setting up partnerships with Musk to improve internet access in schools and health facilities in rural areas, AP reported.

Faria hopes Brazil will be able to use technology developed by Musk’s SpaceX and Starlink to improve connectivity and help preserve the rainforest.

Bolsonaro, an ally of former US President Donald Trump, positioned himself as a champion of free speech and opposed Twitter’s ban on individuals including Trump.

In a Facebook video, Bolsonaro said: “We count on Elon Musk so that the Amazon is known by everyone in Brazil and in the world, to show the exuberance of this region, how we are preserving it, and how much harm those who spread lies about this region are doing to us.”

He added: “A lot can be done to improve quality of life through technology.”

On Friday, Musk tweeted that he was “super excited to be in Brazil for launch of Starlink for 19,000 unconnected schools in rural areas & environmental monitoring of Amazon.”