GM quits Venezuela af­ter gov­ern­ment seizes its fac­tory

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - PAGE TWO -

VA­LEN­CIA, Venezuela (AP) — Gen­eral Motors an­nounced Thurs­day that it was shut­ter­ing its op­er­a­tions in Venezuela af­ter au­thor­i­ties seized its fac­tory in the coun­try, a move that could draw the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion into the es­ca­lat­ing chaos en­gulf­ing the South Amer­i­can na­tion amid days of deadly protests.

The plant in the in­dus­trial city of Va­len­cia was con­fis­cated Wed­nes­day as anti-gov­ern­ment pro­test­ers clashed with se­cu­rity forces and pro-gov­ern­ment groups in a coun­try bat­tered by eco­nomic trou­bles, in­clud­ing food short­ages and triple-digit in­fla­tion. Three peo­ple were killed and hundreds ar­rested in the dead­li­est day of protests since the un­rest be­gan three weeks ago.

The seizure arose from an al­most 20-year-old law­suit brought by a former GM deal­er­ship in western Venezuela. The deal­er­ship had been seek­ing dam­ages from GM of 476 mil­lion bo­li­vars — about $665 mil­lion at the of­fi­cial ex­change rate, or $115 mil­lion on the black mar­ket where many Venezue­lans are forced to turn to sell their in­creas­ingly worth­less cur­rency. GM said it was no­ti­fied this week that a low-level court or­dered the seizure of its plant, bank ac­counts and other as­sets in the coun­try.

Hundreds of work­ers des­per­ate for in­for­ma­tion about their jobs gath­ered at the plant Thurs­day to meet with of­fi­cials, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the deal­er­ship that brought the law­suit. The ne­glected fac­tory hasn’t pro­duced a car since 2015 but GM still has 79 deal­ers that em­ploy 3,900 peo­ple in Venezuela.

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