The number of Arabs in Columbia is bit vague. I have had to estimate.
But we do know there is at least 700,000 Lebanese in the country; and the Lebanese alone represent about 1½% of the population.
Yet, Arabs are 10% of the Columbian Senate, and have already produced a president, Julio César Turbay, whose father was a Lebanese immigrant.
The success of Arabs in Latin America is breathtaking.
Colombia, like all Latin American countries, houses large communities of Arab origin. What do these groups represent to your country, and what do they represent in terms of closer ties with the Arab world?
Yes, we have significant Arab communities in our country, particularly of Lebanese origin. Currently in Colombia we have approximately 700,000 people of Lebanese origin, who are descendents of the 30,000 immigrants who came from Lebanon to settle in Colombia in the late 19th century. Ten percent of the members of the Colombian Parliament are of Arab origin. We also have great businessmen, scientists, etc, of Arab origin. I have just visited Lebanon because I think that we should start to boost our relations and our blood ties.
Arabs are less that 3% of the population but 10% of the Senate in Colombia.
Palestinians are about that 3% of the population but 10% of the Senate in Chile.
Do you see a pattern here?
The Arabs are elite in many countries in South America.
Columbia is no exception.