This week, Paraguay’s new president declared that he will be reversing his predecessor’s decision to open a Paraguayan embassy in Jerusalem, now moving the embassy back to Tel Aviv. This decision by Mario Abdo Benítez, who just took office less than a month ago, has seen an angry reaction from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who immediately ordered the closing of Israel’s embassy in Asuncion and the recall of its ambassador.
There have long been Muslim and Arab populations in Latin America, but few people are aware of the sheer number of Arab descendants in the region. In fact, Latin America has the largest number of Arabs outside of the Middle East, with anywhere between 17 to 30 million people.1 In order to gain a full picture of this aspect the region’s demographics, one must first look back to the time of Columbus’ first voyage to the new world in 1492. In the same year, the Moors, as the Muslim communities were called, were defeated in Spain and Christianity ruled once again.