Rename has a long tradition. The 1890s Kingdom of Ruritania in Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda (excellent 1937 movie with Ronald Colman, Madeleine Carroll, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., C. Aubrey Smith, David Niven, and Raymond Massey – in 1975 Niven wrote a memoir, Bring on the Empty Horses, in which he hilariously savaged the reputations of his Zenda co-stars) and 1900s Principality of Graustark in George Barr McCutcheon’s Graustark: The Story of a Love Behind a Throne were Gold Standards for fictional countries. Edgar Rice Burroughs had the Kingdom of Lutha in The Mad King. Andre Norton’s first novel, published when she was 22, was The Prince Commands, set in the Kingdom of Morvania.
Fictional Latin American countries go back to the Republic of Olancho in Richard Harding Davis’ 1897 Soldiers of Fortune. I first read it in the Classics Illustrated comic-book version when I was 14 or 15. During the 1960s & 1970s I scoured all the used bookshops in Los Angeles, mostly for science fiction. Many of them included the 1927 Right Off the Map by C. E. Montague as s-f because it was about a war between the fictional South American countries of Ria and Porta (clearly inspired by the Boer War).
I also read a lot of these in Belgian/French bandes dessinées. The best-known are the Republic of San Theodoros in Herge’s Tintin albums, and Andre Franquin’s Republic of Palombia (where the Marsupilamis come from) in the Spirou and Fantasio albums.
Anyhow, either creating a fictional country vaguely like one in Central Europe or the Balkans or Latin America, or more recently Southeast Asia (The Ugly American), or taking a specific country as your model and changing its name, have long and respectable histories.