When I wrote about Catalonia’s historic declaration of independence earlier today, I noted that the region probably won’t get much in the way of international support for its bid to separate from Spain. (The U.S. has unsurprisingly backed Spanish efforts to impose direct rule over the region.) But perhaps I spoke too soon. Perhaps the Catalan people have allies in The Gambia of all places.
This afternoon, @MFAGambia tweeted this:
(Update, October 28, 2017: The handle of the account above appears to have been changed to @Not_MFA, so I guess that clears that up.)
But a short time later, the (also unverified) account @MOFAGambia chimed in with an attempt to clear the air:
It's a lie! The Gambia never congratulated Catalonia. @MFAGambia is a fake Twitter Account attributing its claim to the Foreign Ministry.— Foreign Ministry (@MOFAGambia) October 27, 2017
As BuzzFeed’s Jim Waterson notes, this all feels very much of this moment:
Future of Catalan recognition being influenced by an argument between two unverified Gambian foreign ministry Twitter accounts is very 2017. https://t.co/DFp2LNzWSs— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) October 27, 2017
But this sort of thing isn’t entirely unprecedented. In 2011, the ambassador of the small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu called the New York Times to deny press reports, based on statements from his own government, that Vanuatu had recognized the independence of Abkhazia—a Russian-backed breakaway region that most of the world considers part of Georgia. Vanuatu eventually confirmed recognition, but then withdrew it in 2013. Abkhazia’s independence is currently recognized by only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Nauru.
So, yes, despite today’s Gambia confusion, it’s quite possible that some country will recognize Catalonia eventually.