General Motors: Venezuela seized our car plant

General Motors: Venezuela seized our car plant
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General Motors announced Thursday that it is immediately pulling out of Venezuela, saying that authorities there seized its car plant.

“[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside Venezuela, to defend its rights,” the car giant said in a statement, according to CNN Money.

The alleged seizure comes as Venezuela faces long-standing political and economic turmoil.

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GM said the “illegal judicial seizure of its assets” by Venezuelan officials included cars from company facilities there.

The automaker added that the seizure of General Motors Venezolana, its Venezuelan subsidiary, shows a “total disregard” of its legal rights.

CNN Money said GM Venezolana has operated in Venezuela for 70 years, employing about 2,700 workers there.

GM, which has 79 car dealerships in Venezuela, also promised it would make “separation payments” to Venezolana employees following the reported seizure.

CNN Money said it is unclear why Venezuelan authorities took over the plant, but noted Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has blamed the U.S. and its companies for his nation’s woes in the past.

Venezuela’s economy shrank by 18 percent last year, the report continued, the third consecutive year of recession for the South American country.

Unemployment in Venezuela is on pace to exceed 25 percent, while hyperinflation has erased the value of Venezuela's bolivar currency.

At least three people were killed in protests against Maduro’s government the day before, the BBC reported.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are demanding new presidential elections and the release of jailed opposition politicians.

Maduro has accused opposition forces of attacking police and undermining Venezuela’s socialist government.