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Page added on March 15, 2019

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The Crisis in Venezuela

Public Policy

Alfred de Zayas at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry.

GENEVA, Mar 12 2019 (IPS) – My mission to Venezuela in November/December 2017 was the first by a UN rapporteur in 21 years. It was intended to open the door to the visit of other rapporteurs and to explore ways how to help the Venezuelan people overcome the protracted economic and institutional crisis.

In preparation of the mission I studied all pertinent reports by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, UN High Commissioner, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Provea, Fundalatin, Grupo Sures, Red Nacional de Derechos Humanos, etc.

During the mission, thanks to the professionalism of UNDP, I was able to meet with members of the opposition, National Assembly, chamber of commerce, churches, professors, students, representatives of OAS, Carter Center, victims of violence, and civil society. Since my mother tongue is Spanish, it was easy to inter-relate with Venezuelans, walk the streets, visit the supermarkets.

I learned about the scarcity of foods and medicines, black markets, smuggling of subsidized petrol, foods and medicines into neighbouring countries. The situation did not reach and still does not reach the threshold of a “humanitarian crisis” as we know from Gaza, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Haiti, etc.

A major obstacle to solving the problems was the polarization of the population and the dearth of confidence-building measures. I recognized that the government needed advisory services and technical assistance from UN agencies in order to carry out needed economic and institutional reforms.

I convened a meeting with UN agencies in order to explore concrete strategies. In a 6-page confidential memorandum to the government and in my report to the UN Human Rights Council I formulated constructive recommendations, some of which were quickly put into effect. I had requested the release of 23 detainees, 80 were released on 23 December 2017, more in the course of 2018. UN agencies noticeably intensified their assistance, in particular FAO and UNIDO, especially to manage the impacts of the sanctions.

 

Alfred de Zayas with his team at the seat of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry.

 

Following my visit I continued to follow developments and study documentation, statistics and arguments from all sides. My diagnosis: The crisis is not caused by the ideological “failure of socialism as an economic model” (socialism has not failed in Norway, Sweden, China), but by concrete and palpable causes, the dramatic fall in the price of crude oil, the over-dependence on exports, the failure to diversify the economy, an excess of ideologues and relative scarcity of technocrats in government.

Most importantly, the crisis is the result of the cumulative impacts of 20 years of internal and external economic war, financial blockade, and sanctions. The mainstream narrative attributes the crisis to incompetence and corruption, but these also plague most Latin American countries. Besides, the level of corruption in Venezuela in the 1980’s and 1990’s was higher and Chavez won the 1998 elections on a wave of disgust at the corruption of the neo-liberal governments. I spent two hours with the current Attorney General in Caracas, from whom I received ample documentation on the government’s vigorous anti-corruption campaign, investigations and on-going prosecutions.

US efforts to topple Chavez started early, and the CIA cooperated with the Venezuelan oligarchy in the failed coup against Chavez on 11/12 April 2002. The 48-hour President Pedro Carmona had promptly issued a decree doing away with 49 pieces of social legislation, suspending the Supreme Court, the Chavez National Assembly, dismissing governors, etc. Although there is nothing more undemocratic than a coup – Carmona and the US media spoke of “restoring democracy” in Venezuela.

Back in 1970, when Allende was democratically elected President of Chile, Nixon called in Kissinger and told him that the US would not tolerate an alternative socio-economic system in Latin America and that the US would make the Chilean economy “scream”. When in spite of sanctions the Allende government proved resilient, it was necessary to use more muscle and General Pinochet carried out the coup that ushered 17 years of “democracy” – and torture – in Chile. As we know from the studies of Stephen Kinzer and William Blum, US Military and CIA interventions in Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua, Paraguay etc. have cost tens of thousands of lives and brought untold misery to millions of Latin Americans.

“Human Rights” has nothing to do with the US Venezuela policy. As it was in Iraq 2003 and Libya 2011, it is OIL. The US covets the largest oil reserves in the world, as well as the third largest reserves in gold and coltan. If Maduro is toppled, it will be a bonanza for US investors and transnational corporations.

What is sad is that some countries ostensibly committed to democracy, the rule of law and human rights, are supporting the sanctions and the Guaidó coup. We observe a Machiavellian, cynical instrumentalization of human rights and humanitarian aid for purely geopolitical reasons.

A solution of the crisis depends on direct dialogue between the opposition and the government. Such dialogue already took place in 2016-2018. Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero hosted these talks and arrived at a reasonable accord. On the day of signature, 6 February 2018, Julio Borges, the leader of the opposition refused to sign. This augurs badly for any kind of international mediation by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet or by Mexico and Uruguay in the context of the Montevideo mechanism.

History shows us that sanctions kill, and when the level of killing reaches a certain threshold, sanctions become a crime against humanity. This is a worthy challenge for the International Criminal Court. What Venezuela needs is an end to sanctions and interference in is internal affairs, an end to the violations of Articles 1-2 of the UN Charter and of articles 3, 19 and 20 of the OAS Charter by the US and its “coalition”. Venezuela needs international solidarity and respect of its sovereignty.

IPS



57 Comments on "The Crisis in Venezuela"

  1. brett on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 10:13 am 

    amazing with such an impressive academic resume you could be bought buy a dictorship. I hope the price was high given your background. Equally impressive, given your intellecutal abilities, your lack a basic understanding of how insanely backward economic polices combined with corruption have sent the country into an abyss. But for the right price its very easy to scape goat the big bad imperialist.

  2. Robert Inget on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 10:16 am 

    Like CO/2 build-up, it’s far too late for the US to
    ‘help’ Venezuela. That ship left the harbor 2 years ago. We sat around waiting for the current leadership to abandon ship with trunks of cash stowed below. So far, not so.

    Sanctions have certainly make the situation far worse than anyone predicted.

    Russian and/or Chinese oil companies have been losing money from Jump City and are determined
    to exploit Venezuela’s resources till they get it back. IOW’s, there’s not much short of invasion
    the US can do.

    Realization around getting by w/o Venezuelan, Ecuadorian, Iranian, LT supply has yet to hit home.

  3. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 10:26 am 

    Truth is starting to seep through the MSM propaganda.
    A little late for most of our population in the USA.
    Not the brightest porch lights on the block.

  4. Robert Inget on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 10:28 am 

    One item you may have missed:
    Venezuela can’t supply Cuba with (subsidized) fuel any longer. (Trump embargo)
    Translated; At a time of rising crude prices, Cuba, Central America, need to find oil elsewhere.

    Just one more jab at so called journalists who maintain there is still oversupply.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/trump-plans-to-financially-strangle-the-cuban-regime

  5. Robert Inget on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 10:44 am 

    IEA

    Production outages and Iran and Venezuela will tip the global oil market into a shortage during the second quarter, the International Energy Agency said in the new edition of its monthly Oil Market Report.

    This will happen against the background of steadily rising demand despite a slowdown during the last quarter of 2018, the agency said, adding that it had kept its 2019 global demand forecast unchanged from the last OMR at 1.4 million bpd.

    The IEA said Venezuela’s oil production had stabilized around 1.2 million bpd before the massive power outage that hit the country earlier this week, noting this is the same amount as the one OPEC and its partners agreed to take off global markets in December in a bid to prop up prices.

    While it did not say it expected Venezuelan’s oil production to grind to a halt, further decline is more or less a certainty. However, any serious market disruption should be limited because OPEC members—excluding U.S. sanctioned Ian and Venezuela—are sitting on some 2.8 million bpd in spare capacity. This, with two-thirds of it in Saudi Arabia, could be quickly brought back online to cover any shortages, especially of heavy crude. OPEC has cut mostly its heavy crude oil output.
    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/IEA-Warns-Of-Looming-Oil-Market-Deficit.html?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=PushCrew_notification_1552685511&_p_c=1

  6. Robert Inget on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 11:04 am 

    IF… IF.. Three million Venezuelans returned from self exile to restore an oil based Economy.

    If… If.. Peace came to the ME including Israel, KSA and Iran.

    If Global Warming, reserves, were somehow to be rolled back to 1941.

    Many wealthy Venezuelans are currently living quite well in Miami, Spain, Ecuador, Chile, Columbia, etc. Like rich Cubans before them, forty years from now their children will only know of Venezuela from stories from grand parents.

    Iran and Saudi Arabia have been at each other
    not for decades but centuries. In another fifty years they too will decide on another fifty.

  7. Richard on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 12:50 pm 

    Brett, some on youtube think the country collapsed due to sanctions by the US alone. As a left wing person, I find that hard to believe it could only be just because of sanctions.

  8. shortonoil on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 3:18 pm 

    “The crisis is not caused by the ideological “failure of socialism as an economic model” (socialism has not failed in Norway, Sweden, China), but by concrete and palpable causes, the dramatic fall in the price of crude oil, the over-dependence on exports,…”

    to continue… even though the 2014 crude price crashed, and that crash effectively hit every producer on the planet, it especially hit Venezuela very hard. That was because its oil was of such poor quality before the crash. Restarting Venezuelan fields is not going to be easy, and without the diluent; impossible.

    Next:: is that if the US determines that it needs Venezuelan oil for its own survival (which it probably does) it is not going to be given to the Chinese! Period. Even if it requires the shelling of Beijing from sea. Fortunately from Syria we know how many cruise missiles that they can knock down. So, Mr. Author, please stop trying to start WW III; we probably have one coming anyway. http://www.thehillsgroup.org/

  9. Anonymouse on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 3:37 pm 

    brettards mind, such as it is, cannot wrap itself around the idea that Alfred de Zayas statements and comments are an accurate and honest summary of the situation there.

    So, he does what all good red-blooded merikans do, he simply accuses him(Alfred de Zayas) of being on the payroll of ‘dictators’. Nevermind that such statements are backed by exactly zero evidence or proof. This does not matter either as amerika is one gigantic fact-free, reality optional zone from sea-to-shining sea.

    You did get one thing right in little screed brettard though.

    “you lack a basic understanding of how insanely backward economic polices combined with corruption have sent the country into an abyss.”

    Clearly, you were referring to the united snakes and its disastrous economic policies. You should clarify that, even though the truth of that statement is self-evident. Some dumbasses here might get confused if it is not spelled out for them, right davyturd?

  10. Old Soul on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 5:25 pm 

    Ordinary people have every right to determine the fate of their own countries. No more imperialism.

  11. makati1 on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 6:27 pm 

    Anon, every day is the same in the deluded US. Facts and truth are blocked as “fake news”. It is getting worse and worse. Soon there will be no open internet and, eventually, no internet at all. If the empire cannot control it, it will be destroyed like everything else it touches.

    I laugh at the “Plans” the US has for a “Space Force” when they cannot even build airplanes anymore. (Boeing 737 MAX, SLS rocket, etc.) Trump is tearing the US apart. The Elites are fighting over the last scraps before the fall. Ditto for the plebs. It’s like watching gladiators in the Colosseum without having to be one of them. A beautiful Saturday morning here in the Philippines.

  12. Davy on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 6:33 pm 

    “Anon, every day is the same in the deluded US. Facts and truth are blocked as “fake news”

    It is worse in China and other places in Asia.

  13. makati1 on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 7:19 pm 

    Every day Davy loses more and more of any sanity he has left with the rantings of his many sock puppets. Hilarious!

    NEVER has any references or real facts to support his brainwashed delusions, just finger pointing and hypocrisy. GO TRUMP!

  14. slowermindskeepRight-akafmr-paultard on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 7:22 pm 

    makako
    u are aware that u’re leeching off supertards america with ur monthly check and in the name of ur atheistic religion. u’re the sheppard

    are muzzies aware that they’re leeching off supertards america and kufar, 99% don’t, 1% do.

    do the cuckoo bird know they’re leeching off the warbler? probably not

    so how realistic are u about ur fantasy that supertards “change” muzzies? it’s a fantasy so that’s why u’re not against muzzies.

  15. Davy on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 7:52 pm 

    “Every day Davy loses more and more of any sanity he has left with the rantings of his many sock puppets. Hilarious!”
    Sure makato, talk to your idiot friend about that BTW you support the activity making you just as bad as he is. I keep your stupidity in check otherwise this place gets really intellectually sloppy.

    “NEVER has any references or real facts to support his brainwashed delusions, just finger pointing and hypocrisy. GO TRUMP!”
    Please, makato, I have better references than you do and frequently show them as needed. How about your idiot friends that do nothing but game the board? How about those references and facts. You are a fraud as they are.

  16. DerHundistLos on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 8:22 pm 

    Breaking Fox News……. This is a GAME CHANGER

    President Trump’s White House Press Secretary called together the press corp. to announce that the president today received the endorsement of the 2019 class of kindergartners.

    This endorsement follows on the heels of President Trump’s announcement that he has the support of “Bikers for Trump, all the police, and all the US military.”

  17. Shortend on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 3:59 am 

    God Bless America! For interfering in other nations elections!
    The Economic Hitmen strike again….Making America Great Again….increase the war machine

  18. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 9:51 am 

    Trump is cornered, with violence on his mind. We must be on red alert

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2019/mar/16/donald-trump-breitbart-interview-white-supremacy

  19. makati1 on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 5:39 pm 

    “Please, makato, I have better references than you do” says Delusional Davy. Insanity complete! A great laugh to start my day. ^_^

  20. makati1 on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 5:45 pm 

    slower, I speak correct English and can be understood. What is the gibberish I see in the above comment? My 6 year old grandson can write better English than that.

    As for “leeching:. I was forced to contribute to SS all of my almost 50 years of employment. At 3% average interest plus inflation, the US still owes me a lot and I will take it until the US goes down and SS no longer exists. Soon, I think.

    BTW: Why don’t you complain to your military?

    “Pentagon Spent $4.6 Million on Lobster Tail and Crab in One Month”

    https://reason.com/blog/2019/03/08/pentagon-spent-46-million-on-lobster-tai

    Keep paying you slave taxes. I’ll keep spending it. LOL

  21. makati1 on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 5:48 pm 

    Duncan, the US is getting desperate to start a shooting WW3. He is already in an economic/diplomatic one. We all need to be on “red alert”. You more than me. Good luck!

  22. makako-the-tard-AKA-fmr-paultard on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 5:53 pm 

    makako
    u miss the point. we all need to work on reading comprehension. that includes u bro

  23. Davy on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 7:19 pm 

    “Please, makato, I have better references than you do” says Delusional Davy. Insanity complete! A great laugh to start my day.”

    Makato, you are just a typical old guy with a chip on your shoulder. You live by double standards. You praise yourself constantly. You are what a bottom feeding leach. You and dumbass juanP belong together.

  24. Davy on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 7:23 pm 

    “As for “leeching:. I was forced to contribute to SS all of my almost 50 years of employment.”

    Your generation ruined this country makato. You can’t run and hide from that. You need to stand up like a man and accept responsibility instead you run away like a pussy pointing fingers at others. I hope your SS get cut way back and we will see how much more of a whiner you can be. You don’t deserve any social security.

  25. Davy on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 7:33 pm 

    This is especially for you makato you piece of shit:

    “David Holmgren: A Baby Boomers’ Apology”
    https://tinyurl.com/yyjawqwp Via Raul Ilargi Meijer’s Automatic Earth blog,

    “David Holmgren: It is time for us baby boomers to honestly acknowledge what we did and didn’t do with the gifts given to us by our forebears and be clear about our legacy with which we have saddled the next and succeeding generations. By ‘baby boomers’ I mean those of us born in the affluent nations of the western world between 1945 and 1965. In these countries, the majority of the population became middle class beneficiaries of mass affluence. I think of the high birth rate of those times as a product of collective optimism about the future, and the abundant and cheap resources to support growing families. By many measures, the benefits of global industrial civilisation peaked in our youth, but for most middle class baby boomers of the affluent countries, the continuing experience of those benefits has tended to blind us to the constriction of opportunities faced by the next generations: unaffordable housing and land access, ecological overshoot and climate chaos amongst a host of other challenges.”

  26. makati1 on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 8:38 pm 

    Davy, I apologize for nothing. I lived as most Americans, brainwashed to believe the bullshit the government put out. I have overcome that conditioning, but you have not. Therefore YOU are to blame for continuing to support the terrorist country called America, not me. It is what it is and it needs to be put down like any rabid dog. Soon, I hope.

  27. makati1 on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 8:42 pm 

    BTW Davy, you will never see Social Security or Medicare or any other “retirement” income. When the US goes down, they will ALL end, including any IRAs, 401ks, etc. I will not miss them as I do not use Medicare, have no stock or bond based retirement plans or even need SS. It is just one income stream for me. My future is secure. yours isn’t.

  28. Davy on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 8:45 pm 

    Oops, sorry everyone. I forgot. I’m a baby boomer myself, AND a one percenter. That makes me even more guilty then makato. Not to mention I’m a hypocrite as well.

  29. Anonymouse on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 9:00 pm 

    Why does the exceptionaltard keep saying ‘your generation’ Mak. Coming from an elderly, decrepit loner like himself, that charge sounds downright bizarre. Or, maybe not considering the source. And what is the delusional one going to ‘retire’ from anyone? Spamming and harassing posters at an comparatively niche topic boards un-registered comments section? Is that something dumbass can claim government benefits from? I know we all wish he would just ‘retire’ permanently from the internet. Maybe to a nice square room with soft, padded walls, for this comfort and protection. A place where he wont need to concern himself over the future solvency, or not, of the amrerikan SS fund. He will just need to worry about whether he gets his cocktail of anti-psychotics in a timely fashion.

  30. makati1 on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 9:29 pm 

    Anon, Davy is just one example of why America is failing. I have a few step relatives that are similar (arrogant/dumbed down/rednecks) so there are probably millions out there like him. Thank gawd, there is only one on here.

  31. Davy on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 9:32 pm 

    OK annoymouse. I stand corrected. Me n makato are from the same generation seeing as were only 15 years apart in age.

    “A generation is “all of the people born and living at about the same time, regarded collectively”. It can also be described as, “the average period, generally considered to be about thirty years, during which children are born and grow up, become adults, and begin to have children of their own”.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation

  32. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 9:37 pm 

    Teen eggs Australian senator who blamed immigration for New Zealand mosque shootings

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/teen-eggs-australian-senator-fraser-anning-today-who-blamed-muslim-immigration-new-zealand-mosque-shootings-2019-03-16/

  33. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 10:07 pm 

    ‘It’s the apocalypse’: Paris rioters run amok at yellow vest rallies

    https://au.news.yahoo.com/apocalypse-paris-rioters-run-amok-yellow-vest-rallies-191747031–spt.html

  34. annonymouse-the-tard-aka-fmr-paultard on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 12:18 am 

    anontard
    u need to attack supertard harder, u and aswange

    btw, u said exceptionaltard
    u always said exceptiionalturd

  35. Not Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 12:55 am 

    JuanP

    annonymouse-the-tard-aka-fmr-paultard on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 12:18 am

  36. supremetard-is-to-be-respected-aka-fmr-paultard on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 1:22 am 

    juanpequeno
    did u sub to pewdiepie like i told u
    do ur job attack supertard harder u

  37. fmr-paultard on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 1:50 am 

    There is sucker born every minute….

    I love being crazy and free to do whatever the fuck I want to do.

    You know why I can do and say whatever the fuck I want? Because YOU, Mr. Taxpayer, are paying for my Social Security Disability. I get paid to be a freak. I get paid although I never paid into the system.

    What a deal and thank YOU!!!!

  38. Cloggie on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 2:33 am 

    ‘It’s the apocalypse’: Paris rioters run amok at yellow vest rallies

    The French are traditionally very good at revolutions.

    This is 1968-counter-revolution. This is the revolution of the small white guy. Don’t for a minute think they are “pro-American” or “pro-oligarch” or “pro-George-Soros”.

    Your stinking empire is toast, mobster.LOL

  39. JuanP on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 4:52 am 

    This is JuanP

    Not Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 12:55 am
    JuanP
    annonymouse-the-tard-aka-fmr-paultard on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 12:18 am

  40. Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 4:54 am 

    “Davy, I apologize for nothing.”
    Makato, this is because you have never accepted responsibility in your life. You are always pointing fingers at others. You did nothing wrong so you think. You are the classic failure type.

  41. Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 4:56 am 

    “Spamming and harassing posters at an comparatively niche topic boards un-registered comments section?”

    Anon, talk to your stupid friend JuanP and look in the mirror. There is no reason for you to be here. Nothing that comes out of your mouth is a contribution. Go fuck yourself dumbass.

  42. Not Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 4:57 am 

    JuanP

    Davy on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 9:32 pm

  43. Not Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 4:58 am 

    JuanP

    Davy on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 8:45 pm

  44. JuanP on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 4:59 am 

    JuanP did this

    Not Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 12:55 am
    JuanP
    annonymouse-the-tard-aka-fmr-paultard on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 12:18 am

  45. Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 5:01 am 

    ‘It’s the apocalypse’: Paris rioters run amok at yellow vest rallies” “The French are traditionally very good at revolutions.”

    CW2 is birthing in Europe

  46. JuanP on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 5:42 am 

    I just got up and after I go pull some weeds I am going to fuck this board up with socks and fake handles. Get ready exceptionalist you can’t get away with this shit!!!

  47. Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 5:44 am 

    OH boy, JuanP is up to dirty up the place. Have fun normal people wading through his shit. Clogged will like it because it gives him room to maneuver his lies and distortions.

  48. Cloggie on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 5:50 am 

    Why does the exceptionaltard keep saying ‘your generation’ Mak. Coming from an elderly, decrepit loner like himself

    According to anonymouse, you are a “elderly decrepit loner”, Mak.LOL

    It’s official.

    (I know that mouse doesn’t mean it, but logic is not his “cup-of-tea”).

  49. More Davy Identity Theft on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 7:25 am 

    Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 5:42 am

    I wake up at 5am, so I can make fake posts and then try to pass them off as JuanP’s. I must be delusional to believe anyone here is going to fall for that.

    I know, fucking loser right? I’m easily as pathetic as Cloggo.

  50. JuanP is a liar on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 7:26 am 

    This was JuanP

    More Davy Identity Theft on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 7:25 am

    Davy on Sun, 17th Mar 2019 5:42 am

    I wake up at 5am, so I can make fake posts and then try to pass them off as JuanP’s. I must be delusional to believe anyone here is going to fall for that.

    I know, fucking loser right? I’m easily as pathetic as Cloggo.

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