Polish foreign minister's gaffe creates new Caribbean country, Internet rolls with it

Witold Waszczykowski mentioned Poland's new relations with San Escobar, with the non-existent country finding a new home online

Polish foreign minister's gaffe creates new Caribbean country, Internet rolls with it

Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski at a meeting of NATO members in November [AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda]

Poland’s foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski has been left with egg on his face after speaking to reporters in New York while lobbying for a place for Poland on Security Council at the UN and mentioning closer relations with San Escobar – a Caribbean country that does not exist.

Telling the press that he had met with diplomats from nearly 20 countries, including Caribbean nations “for the first time in the history of our diplomacy,” or indeed anyone’s diplomacy, as the geographical gaffe has seen a comedic backlash.

Following the comments, Waszczykowski’s spokeswoman, Joanna Wajda, later explained that the minister had had a slip of the tongue when thinking of Saint Kitts & Nevis, which identifies itself in Spanish as San Cristobal y Nieves. The Polish statesman blamed his mistake on having spent 22 hours in transit on the way to New York.

But quickly, a San Escobar Twitter account appeared, claiming to represent the República Popular Democrática de San Escobar, posting images of a flag, a map, and other national emblems like currency and monuments.

The Twitter account also escalated an international incident with St Kitts & Nevis, claiming it was “interfering with our relations with Poland.” The imaginary island nation is also in dispute with Facebook, with a fictional argument going on over the social network allowing El Frente Communista de San Escobar, a socialist revolutionary force looking to overthrow the government, to create a fan page.

The San Escobar mistake has found favour among the critics of Poland's right-wing Law & Justice Party, which has proved controversial since taking power. "It's funny until you realise your only allies left are Belarus, Hungary and an imaginary nation-state," tweeted a critic.

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