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Colombia in uproar after 3 mayors sign agreements with nonexistent country

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Nov 11, 2022 - 01:39 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – Three mayors in Colombia are at the center of a controversy after signing agreements with a fictitious country.

The mayors of the cities of Manizales and Pereira and the town of Santa Rosa de Cabal shared videos and photos Tuesday on social media in which they proudly announced that they had signed official agreements with “the city-state of Liberland” to allow Colombian citizens to learn English for free through an Internet platform.

Carlos Mario Marin Correa, Carlos Maya Lopez and Rodrigo Toro met with Randy Thompson, who said he was a “diplomat of Liberland,” a seven-square-kilometer (2.7-square-mile) piece of land located on the Balkan Peninsula on the western bank of the Danube River on the border of Croatia, a territory that is not recognized by anyone other than its founders.

“Liberland. I did ask myself where that was,” the mayor of Pereira, Maya Lopez, told local media Thursday. “I opened my tablet to verify and search where it was. I took the audacity to ask the gentleman where it was and since when it was constituted as a country,” he added.

No country has recognized the legitimacy and sovereignty of Liberland, and Colombia is no exception.

On Thursday, the questioned officials denied that the signatures on the agreements were theirs.

“He (Thompson) put that agreement on my desk, but that didn’t get signed,” said Maya Lopez.

The territory was founded in April 2015 by former Czech MP Vit Jedlicka, his girlfriend and seven friends, who arrived on a piece of land that was not claimed by the countries that emerged after the Balkan War. They planted a flag and declared the foundation of the “Free Republic of Liberland.”

They already have passports, which of course no immigration authority receives, and it does not have a single inhabitant.

The idea of self-proclaimed president Jedlicka is to create an autonomous nation that will use a form of cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin as its national currency.

“The purpose is to create an architectural project that will accommodate some 120,000 people,” Jedlicka told Anadolu Agency in a 2019 interview. “I think that is the most certain number that could live inside Liberland.”

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