Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Technology | By Timothy Carter

GM halts operations in Venezuela after factory is seized

GM halts operations in Venezuela after factory is seized

Venezuela is now fighting claims of illegal asset seizures at a World Bank-sponsored arbitration panel from more than 25 companies.

But while GM says the seizure will hurt its dealers, multiple employees at the plant tell NPR that the takeover was actually orchestrated by GM dealers, with the support of a judge and police officers. "In addition, other assets of the company, such as vehicles, have been illegally taken from its facilities", GM said.

"GMV is taking all legal measures within its reach in order to protect the rights of its workers and their property", the company said in a statement.

Venezuelan authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Exxon Mobil sought arbitration after the government of President Hugo Chavez nationalized the company's oil project in the South American nation's oil-rich Orinoco region in 2007.

A statement issued Thursday by spokesman Stephane Dujarric calls on the Venezuelan government and opposition to "engage sincerely to reactivate dialogue efforts, " especially on issues such as the balance of power among branches of government, the electoral calendar, human rights, truth and justice and the country's socio-economic situation".

Watson said that automakers in the country have struggled because they've been unable to access US dollars to import parts, said Watson. GM said assets such as vehicles were taken from the plant, causing the company irreparable damage. GM said that it would be paying separation benefits "as far as the authorities permit". The country's economy contracted by an estimated 18 percent past year, facing one of the world's highest inflation rates and widespread shortages of food and medicine. Unemployment is set to surpass 25% this year.

Hyperinflation has wiped out the value of its currency, the bolivar.

The three killings bring to eight the death toll since protests began three weeks ago over the Supreme Court's decision to strip the opposition-controlled congress of its last remaining powers, a move that was later reversed amid a storm of worldwide criticism.

In several cities, protesters described being terrorized by militia members, some of them armed and circling the protesters on motorcycles.

Maduro, addressing supporters at a much smaller but still large countermarch of mostly state workers, said he was "anxious" to see elections take place sometime "soon" and repeated his call for dialogue, something many in the opposition see as a stalling tactic.

Clorox Co. halted operations in Venezuela in September 2014 after inflation and government-mandated price freezes made business unprofitable for the seller of products ranging from bleach to salad dressing.

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