by the961- The new Lebanese Nationality Program website
was launched by the Lebanese government to help Lebanese people abroad
(who don’t have their citizenship) reclaim their Lebanese nationality. This is an initiative launched by the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign
Affairs & Emigrants to initiate and facilitate the process for
people of Lebanese heritage. This service is completely free and the website is available in 4 languages: English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. There were several major waves of emigration from Lebanon to South
America starting in the late 1800’s due to the 1860 conflict in Lebanon. The ruling parties at the time intentionally passed laws to “punish”
these emigrants, denying them the automatic right of return to Lebanon –
making it near impossible to pass the nationality to their children.
Despite several generations in South America and the Lebanese
language not being passed on to the children, there still maintains a
strong Lebanese ethnic identity. Brazil alone is home to the most number of Lebanese people in the
world, including Lebanon. Estimates range from 7 million up to 12
million Lebanese. Hence why the website is available in Portuguese.
Other Latin American countries:
- Argentina – 1.5 million
- Venezuela – 500,000
- Mexico – 500,000+
- Colombia – 700,000+
- Ecuador – 250,000
- Dominican Republic – 100,000
- Uruguay – 70,000
- Caribbean – 550,000
- Rest of Latin America: ~200,000
Excluding Brazil, there’s bout 4.5 million Lebanese living in Latin America – which is about the same number living in Lebanon.
The focus is on the Latin American countries since they are the
“furthest” away, both physically and in terms of linguistic/culture
This initiative reaches out to Lebanese all over the world including
USA, Canada, Australia and throughout the African continent.
From South Africa last week, Lebanese foreign minister Gebran Bassil called on Lebanese expats to reclaim their Lebanese citizenship so that “Lebanon is not lost to terrorists and refugees.”
The website cites people who’ve wanted to reclaim their Lebanese nationality:
My parents are from Lebanon but I have never been there. I want to connect with my parents’ home country…
as well as
My Lebanese heritage is part of who I am. It may not define all of me, but it’s a crucial part that I want to discover…