GM halts operations in Venezuela after factory is seized

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GM halts operations in Venezuela after factory is seized

General Motors (GM) has said its vehicle plant in Venezuela has been seized by the government due to political tension in the country.

He claims his opponents are colluding with US authorities to overthrow him, and he has placed Venezuelan security forces on high alert.

GM says the plant was taken in disregard of its right to due process.

As well as this other assets had been taken away from the plant, this included vehicles.

In its statement, General Motors said it has operated in Venezuela since 1948 and employs almost 2,700 workers in the country.

Venezuela's Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for information. Bridgestone joined other foreign multinationals including Halliburton, Ford Motor and Procter & Gamble who have either slowed or abandoned their investments in Venezuela.

"GMV strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights", the company said.

Nationwide, auto makers assembled just 2,849 cars previous year, from a peak of 172,218 vehicles in 2007.

Venezuela's government has taken over factories in the past.

If the government permits it, GM workers at the Valencia plant will get separation benefits "arising from the termination of employment relationships due to causes beyond the parties' control", the GM statement said.

The Venezuelan government has offered no explanation for its seizure of the GM plant, and the timing of the move suggests Maduro may be looking to escalate his confrontation with the United States to try to move attention away from the intensifying protests against him.

South American operations, which include Venezuela, account for a relatively small portion of GM's earnings and sales.

In case you didn't know it, Venezuela is a country in turmoil at the moment. A year ago the company lost $400 million before taxes in South America, but as a whole the company made a pretax profit of $12.5 billion.

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