The Arab invasion of South America!
We all know about the Arab conquest of Spain & Portugal but when did they conquer Latin America? Well, it’s much recent and incremental invasion. Latin America hosts the 2nd largest Arab population outside the Middle East. Most are immigrants who made the move from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine in the first few decades of the 20th century and their descendants. Ever wondered how Shakira could do such awesome belly dance? Well, because she is Shakira Mebarak Chadid and Salma (Arabic for “peace”) Hayak is Lebanese.
Much like the Sikhs of Canada, the Arabs of South America have been very industrious and successful, consequently, wield disproportionate political and commercial power. Billionaire and world’s 2nd richest man Carlos Slim (Mexico) is Lebanese, Honduras tycoon Miguel Facussé, a Palestinian. In fact, Honduras is so pro-Palestine for a good reason: the most well-known television personality and declared presidential candidate, Salvador Nasralla… Palestinian. Top coffee exporter Oscar Kafati… Palestinian. Victoria Asfoura, Juan Bendeck, William Handal… Palestinian. The Kawas, Larach, Panayotti, Sikaffy families… Palestinians.
What about Chile? José Said Saffie the biggest real-estate tycoon there is a Palestinian. The Banna family which controls the textile industry and the Kassis Cecinas family (30% of processed meat industry is controlled by them) is also from Palestine.
Just to illustrate the level of political power the Arab community wields in S America; the vice president of Brazil, Michel Temer, who took over from Dilma Rouseff as caretaker President is a Maronite Lebanese!
Here is a list presidents and prime ministers of Arab origin.
Carlos Saúl Menem, President, Argentina — 1989 to 1999 (Syrian)
Julio César Turbay, President, Colombia — 1978 to 1982 (Lebanese)
Elías Antonio Saca, President, El Salvador — 2004 to 2009 (Palestinian)
Abdalá Bucaram, President, Ecuador — 1996 to 1997 (Lebanese)
Jamil Mahuad, President, Ecuador — 1998 to 2000 (Lebanese)
Carlos Flores Facussé, President, Honduras — 1998 to 2002 (Palestinian)
Jacobo Majluta Azar, President, Dominican Republic — 1982 to 1982 (Lebanese)
Julio Teodoro Salem, Head of State of Ecuador — 1944 to 1948 (Lebanese)
Said Musa, Prime Minister (two term) Belize (Palestinian)
That kind of explains why every South American country has recognized Palestinian statehood :)