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General Motors auto plant in Venezuela seized by government, GM decries illegality
22 April 2017, 01:27 | Terri Saunders
It calls on Venezuelan authorities to respect rights and "retake the path of democratic institutionality", release political prisoners and set dates for elections, among other things. We will only feel happy when our plant starts operation again.
GM can seek compensation and damages for its lost plant in several different worldwide venues, said Nigel Blackaby, a lawyer at the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer law firm, which has battled Venezuela in several high-profile cases in global courts.
GM, though, hasn't produced a single auto at its plant in the industrial city of Valencia since 2015. Overnight, a National Guard sergeant was killed and a colonel injured when their squad was attacked with gunfire while trying to control disturbances in a city near Caracas, the chief prosecutor's office said. He called GM's withdrawal from the company "very worrying".
Venezuela has one of the world's highest homicide rates and the huge number of firearms circulating on the streets is a major concern in the event of unrest, as are the activities of armed motorcycle gangs that were once loyal to the government. In fact, not only did the authorities take control of the plant, they even removed assets including cars from the facilities.
Once one of Latin America's wealthiest nations, the oil-rich country has witnessed a stunning collapse of industrial activity.
"Like most carmakers in the oil-producing nation, it has seen production grind to a halt as the cash-strapped government chokes off its access to dollars needed to import parts and repatriate profits", the news service writes.
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GM has about 2,700 workers in the troubled country, where it's been the market leader for over 35 years. GM sold just over 583,000 vehicles in the region a year ago, but that was only about 6 percent of its total sales.
The country's economic crisis has hurt many other US companies, including food makers and pharmaceutical firms.
GM plans to fight the seizure in court, The Associated Press reports.
DETROIT - General Motors became the latest corporation to have a factory or other asset seized by the government of Venezuela, and the Detroit automaker faces an uphill battle to recover any damages. In 2014, the government announced the temporary takeover of two plants of USA cleaning products maker Clorox Co which had left the country. However, since President Hugo Chavez came to power, large sections of the economy have been nationalized.
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" 'This is exhausting - but we won't give up until we achieve a better country and democracy, ' Luiza Mayorca, a lawyer and mother of three, told NPR's Phil Reeves in Caracas". This government, this regime, is making life miserable, and we can not accept it.'.
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