GM says its plant in Venezuela has been illegally seized

GM says its plant in Venezuela has been illegally seized

The automaker has called the action an illegal judicial seizure of its assets.

The seizure happened Wednesday, as the "mother of all protests" brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets to demonstrate against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

General Motors Venezolana, GM's local subsidiary, was established in 1948 and employs about 2,700 workers and has 79 dealers in the country. It employs almost 2,700 workers and has 79 dealers in the country, CNN Money reported. "His response to a rogue nation taking over the assets of a brand name US company will be indicative of the road it wants to take with Venezuela".

Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

In July of a year ago, the Venezuelan government took control of a factory belonging to Kimberly-Clark Corp. after the USA personal care giant said it was no longer possible to manufacture in the crisis-wracked nation due to a lack of materials. The vast bulk of the seized companies have since shuttered, contributing to an unprecedented economic crisis rocking the country.

Hector Riera, 43, a product analyst who has worked with GM Venezuela for 16 years, was among many who appeared convinced the plant been confiscated by dealers connected with GM.

Watson said that automakers in the country have struggled because they've been unable to access US dollars to import parts, said Watson.

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Production at the GM plant in the city of Valencia had virtually halted due to government import restrictions and shortages of raw materials.

GM has been in Venezuela for 69 years.

GM is the latest in a long line of foreign firms that have had to close their business in Venezuela, due to what the New York Times characterizes as a combination of "political tensions, corruption, high crime rates, a restrictive investment law, and interruptions of electric service".

The Detroit-based company is the leading automaker in Venezuela and employed roughly 2,700 people at the plant.

Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol is blaming an opposition party for the killing of a 23-year-old woman amid ongoing protests in the South American country.

The vehicle manufacturer is the latest multinational company to report major problems in Venezuela, which has been devastated by food scarcities, massive inflation and weeks of bloody street protests against President Nicolas Maduro and his leftist government. Clorox Co. said in September 2014 that it was shutting down all operations in Venezuela, citing restrictions by the government, supply disruptions and economic uncertainty.

Associated Press writer Juan Carlos Hernandez reported this story in Valencia and AP writer Joshua Goodman reported from Caracas.

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