GM quits Venezuela after government seizes its factory
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.