The Lebanese government inaugurated on Monday (5) an honorary consulate in Campinas, in the interior of São Paulo. The new office, which will be headed by Honorary Consul Miled El Khoury, is part of a project to expand Lebanon’s representation in Brazil.
Lebanon already has an embassy in Brasilia and general consulates in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In recent years, the country has established honorary consulates in Belém, Goiânia, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Campo Grande. As a result, there are expansion plans for Santos and Florianópolis. Honorary consuls have a symbolic approach, for example, in the economic field.
No wonder Brazil is attracting so much attention from Lebanon. The country is now home to the largest Lebanese community in the world. There are controversies over the estimates, but Itamaraty speaks, for example, of between 7 and 10 million Lebanese and their descendants in the country. According to information from the new honorary consulate, there are 300,000 Lebanese and descendants in the metropolitan region of Campinas, represented by the office.
The presence of Lebanese in the civil service is one of the clearest examples of the influence of this community in Brazil. Former President Michel Temer – who attended the investiture ceremony – is the son of a Lebanese from the village of Btaaboura. The mayor of Campinas, Dário Saadi, another person present at the event, also has this Levantine origin. There are also Lebanese and descendants in other regions. For example, writers Milton Hatoum and Raduan Nassar, singer Wanderléa, actor Maurício Mattar and journalist Guga Chacra.
Ties between the two countries led Brazil to offer aid to Lebanon after an explosion that devastated Beirut last year. There are now plans to create a fund for Brazilians to invest in Lebanon – which has seen a dramatic economic collapse in recent months.