This week, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski was in New York to lobby for a seat on the U.N. Security Council from 2018 to 2019. His efforts were going well, Waszczykowski told reporters Tuesday. He had met with officials from nearly 20 countries, he said, including some Caribbean nations for the first time in Poland's diplomatic history.
“For example, with countries such as Belize or San Escobar,” Poland's senior diplomat added.
There is no country called San Escobar. And on social media, Waszczykowski's flub was soon mocked. Many users suggested that he was thinking of Pablo Escobar, the late Colombian drug lord and subject of the Netflix show “Narcos.”
Soon a Twitter account claiming to represent the “República Popular Democrática de San Escobar,” or the People's Democratic Republic of San Escobar in English, was launched. It offered a vision of San Escobar — complete with flags, maps and photographs to accompany news about the imaginary country.
A Twitter account also claiming to be San Escobar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered praise for Poland.
On a Facebook page dedicated to the fake country, San Escobar claimed to have built a statue of Waszczykowski in its central square. The statue is actually located in Skopje, Macedonia, and it portrays Philip of Macedon, an ancient warrior king.
Poland's Foreign Ministry attempted to explain away the mistake, with spokeswoman Joanna Wajda saying that Waszczykowski had been thinking of the Caribbean islands known as St. Kitts and Nevis (or San Cristobal y Nieves in Spanish).
However, the San Escobar Twitter account took this as an affront, tweeting that St. Kitts and Nevis was “interfering with our relations with Poland.” The imaginary country is also claiming to be in a dispute with Facebook over a page on the social network dedicated to El Frente Comunista de San Escobar, an alleged revolutionary force in the country.
The San Escobar faux pas has delighted many Polish critics of Waszczykowski, a member of the right-wing populist Law and Justice party. “It's funny until you realise your only allies left are Belarus, Hungary and an imaginary nation-state,” one Polish critic tweeted.
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