Brazil's large Lebanese community has expressed its solidarity with the people of Beirut following this week's massive explosion in the city. The flag of Lebanon dominated buildings in one of the most important streets in Brazil, Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo, yesterday.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sent his condolences after the huge blast in the Lebanese capital on Tuesday which killed at least 135 people and wounded 5,000 others. "Brazil is home to the largest community of Lebanese in the world," said Bolsonaro on Twitter, "therefore, we feel this catastrophe as if it were in our lands. I express my solidarity with the families of the victims and the wounded."
Profundamente triste com as cenas da explosão em Beirute. O Brasil abriga a maior comunidade de libaneses do mundo e, deste modo, sentimos essa tragédia como se fosse em nosso território. Manifesto minha solidariedade às famílias das vítimas fatais e aos feridos.
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) August 5, 2020
The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement on its website. "The Brazilian government expresses its solidarity with the Lebanese government and people after the serious explosions that took place in the port of Beirut." The ministry expressed its readiness to provide appropriate assistance to Lebanon.
It also confirmed that there is, at the time of writing, no news about any Brazilian casualties. The ministry confirmed that it will continue to monitor the situation closely through the Brazilian Embassy in Beirut.
Former Brazilian President Michel Tamer, who is from a Lebanese background, said that he was "dismayed" at the news of the explosion. "It is very sad," said Tamer. "The economy is in chaos there; unfortunately it will be aggravated by such an incident."
Fernando Haddad, who also has a Lebanese background, said that Lebanon has been "punished" by recent history. "Lebanon is synonymous with resistance and freedom. People do not deserve much suffering at this difficult time. May God bless the victims' families," tweeted the former presidential candidate.
Nosso Líbano tem sido castigado pela história recente. Líbano é sinônimo de resistência e liberdade. Um povo magnífico que não merece tanto sofrimento, num momento já difícil. Que Deus abençoe a família das vítimas.
— Fernando Haddad (@Haddad_Fernando) August 4, 2020
Brazil is home to the largest Lebanese diaspora community in the world. According to official statistics, there are around 10 million Lebanese in the country. In Brazil, politicians of Lebanese origin have a strong presence and influence on almost all parties across the political spectrum.