Monday, April 8th, 2013

Fiesta of Lebanese Independence in Uruguay

Celebrating Lebanese Independence in Downtown Montevideo, Uruguay

The Lebanese are about 2% of the Uruguay’s population, but they have already produced a Vice-President, Alberto Abdala.

Almost all are from Maronite Catholic stock.

Again, as noted, depending on the country, Maronite Catholics are often 45-65% of the Arab ethnic community in Latin American countries. (Chile and Honduras are noteable exceptions)

In Uruguay, Maronites are almost all the Arabs.

Where the Maronites predominate, they are a moderating influence.

When they came to Latin America, because the Maronites are a branch of Roman Catholicism, they fit in well with Catholic Latin America.

When they came to Latin America, some Maronites spoke French, which is a Latin language similar to Spanish and Portuguese making the transition easier.

Historically, Lebanese Maronites have intermarried with the Crusaders, Romans, etc. making them partly European in genetics. They tend to be fairer, and have slightly higher rates of fair eyes than most other Arabs. Outwardly, they could pass for European.

They considered themselves an outpost of Western Civilization in the Mideast. They felt closer to the French than neighboring Arab Muslims.

Maronite Catholics often considered themselves Phoenician not Arab, even though they speak Arabic.

This has caused friction with the Lebanese Muslims who do consider themselves Arabic.

So the Maronite Catholics blended in well with South Americans, and all the other Arabs had to play catch up with them.

They are very moderate concerning Mideast politics. Where they predominate, there will not be much anti-Israel polemics.

In Chile, where Palestinian-Christian predominate among the Arab community, Arab ethnic politics can get ugly.