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How Bolsonaro and Musk Defied Brazil Government’s Censorship from Deep in the Amazon

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

The suppression of voices, endorsed by certain factions within Brazil, is becoming increasingly contentious.

A notable episode in this ongoing conflict occurred during an X Spaces session hosted by podcaster Mario Nawfal, featuring Elon Musk and Jair Bolsonaro, the former President of Brazil. Musk, a vocal advocate for freedom of expression, had prefaced the discussion on social media, emphasizing the Brazilian public’s right to hear Bolsonaro, regardless of personal opinions about him.

However, this stance was directly challenged by the Brazilian authorities. The Brazilian Supreme Court intervened to block the live broadcast, forcing listeners to resort to VPNs to access the conversation. Musk criticized this move, underscoring the infringement on free speech rights.

Amid these restrictions, Bolsonaro was compelled to travel to a remote location within the Amazon to participate in the broadcast. He stationed himself in a floating hotel on the Rio Negro in Amazonas—a state fully covered by Musk’s Starlink network, ensuring uninterrupted internet access.

During the broadcast, Bolsonaro lamented the selective censorship targeting conservative figures by Brazil’s judiciary, suggesting that the Biden Administration had not effectively supported free speech in Brazil. He voiced his concerns about the broader aims of the Lula government to marginalize conservative politics in the country.

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“The censorship continued and was intensified, and this is the objective of the [Lula] government, which seems to want to destroy the right in Brazil. […] This concern of ours, fortunately, a force from the United States emerged, because the Biden government did not fulfill its part so that freedom of expression could prevail here in Brazil,” Bolsonaro stated.

He also highlighted the plight of supporters, some of whom had sought asylum in the US, while others faced detentions and police raids at home—an attempt to silence their voices, according to Bolsonaro.

“The left has the support of the official press, and we don’t. Only social media remained for us. The mainstream traditional press is favorable to the left. For us, social media remained. To silence us once and for all, they discredited right-wing politicians. This happened during the elections, with the cancellation of pages. And influential people on my side, almost all of them, were censored. We have several examples, like businessmen who were accused of being coup plotters for chatting on WhatsApp. Luciano Hang was never a coup plotter, but they managed to take him off the air. They inhibited other businessmen from participating in the elections,” Bolsonaro remarked.

“Whether you agree with Bolsonaro or not, the people of Brazil have a right to hear him speak,” Elon Musk said prior to the Space.

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