According to CNN Money, the Venezuelan government has unexpectedly seized General Motors’ car plant, causing the car company to halt production within the country effective immediately.
GM has described the takeover as an “illegal judicial seizure of assets,” and that the move was a “total disregard” of the company’s legal rights. The Venezuelan government has reportedly removed assets from the plant, including cars.
“[GM] 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,” GM said in a statement.
The Valencia plant employed some 2,700 workers, but had stopped producing cars in 2015. It was primarily selling spare parts, according to a GM spokesperson. These workers will be given “separation payments” according to the automaker.
The Venezuelan people have been faced with an economy that has been consistently going downhill under the leadership of socialist President Nicholas Maduro. The country has been faced with shortages of everything from food, to medical items, to everyday necessities such as toilet paper.
Maduro has blamed his country’s misfortunes, not on his rule, but on the United States attempting to interfere in the country.
The failing economy, now in its third year of recession, has inspired massive protests and riots across the country. Maduro has promised the Bolivarian militia – government loyalists that number some 400,000 – that he will arm them all.