If you've had some free time recently and have been scrolling through Netflix, as we all do from time to time, you may have stumbled upon one of the streaming service's newer reality TV shows, Made in Mexico.
The show features a cast of socialites living in the country's capitol, Mexico City. If you've watched the show, you might have noticed that one of the cast members, Roby Checa, in particular, has roots that trace back to Lebanon. In fact, it's not uncommon to find Mexicans with Lebanese ancestry at all.
In Roby's case, his great-grandfather was the patriarch of the Lebanese in Mexico. Throughout the show, it's mentioned several times how he has the "handsome Lebanese look" as one of the romantically sought-after characters in the season.
Although it may be surprising, there are many other Lebanese in Mexico who have a similar story to Roby's. Lebanese have started migrating to Mexico since the 19th century, where they arrived on French ships and settled along the coastal cities. They merged well with the cultures, as they are similar in many ways, and have even influenced Mexican culture since.
For example, have you ever heard of the signature tacos al pastor (shepherd's tacos)? It came to be as a result of the Lebanese culture! The tacos are made by slicing off sections of meat that are cooked--you guessed it--shawarma style, only with different additions of seasonings like pineapple. There are also tacos árabes (Arabic tacos), which feature cumin-marinated pork and are served in Arabic pita bread!
You've also probably heard of Carlos Slim (Helu), the extremely successful billionaire businessman from Mexico who's made it onto lists like Forbes' World Billionaires. He currently stands as the richest man in Latin America, and, he's also Lebanese! And let us not forget about Salma Hayek, daughter of a Lebanese immigrant to Mexico.
It is worth mentioning that Lebanese immigration to Mexico started in 1892, the first being Antonios Bashaalany from Bsalim, as per the Archivo Libanes de Mexico. By 1930s. they constituted only 5% of the immigrants in Mexico yet 50% of the immigrant economic activity in the country.
Living in Lebanon, Saint Charbel is known as one of the major native religious saints and an icon of Lebanon. His influence is apparent globally, and if you haven't traveled around different cultures and noticed it, you would have probably remarked it at the touristic church in Annaya with all the letters from around the world posted on the wall.
Those living in Mexico know even better: Saint Charbel has a particularly strong presence in Mexican culture and religious devotion, and that is due to the major presence of Lebanese people in the country.
Lebanese tend to make an impact wherever they go, including in Mexico and its culture. The Netflix series Made in Mexico only shows a small tip of the iceberg when it comes to just how much our country has affected Mexico. But, we recommend watching the show anyway, and get to see that Lebanese fellow who has become known for his particular "Lebanese handsomely romantic look."
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