As chaos continues to erupt in Venezuela, where tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to protest against the disastrous socialist policies of President Nicolas Maduro, government authorities have unexpectedly seized a General Motors plant located in the city of Valencia for reasons unknown.
Local reports indicate that the government issued a broad embargo on the assets of General Motors Venezolana (GMV), the Venezuelan branch of the auto manufacturer that has been in business for almost 70 years.
GMV released a statement claiming that authorities swept into the plant and took over on Wednesday afternoon, halting production and freezing bank accounts that are used to carry out vital business functions like paying employees.
Blasting the act as “improper, absurd, outside of legal logic and due process,” the company has vowed to fight for its right to do business: “GMV is taking all legal measures within its reach in order to protect the rights of its workers and their property,” the statement read.
GMV has also asked its employees to stay home and not contribute any work to the now government-owned plant until the court ruling, which allegedly stems from a former landowner’s dispute, is reversed.
The move comes as demonstrations against Maduro’s government continue to gain traction throughout the country, which has been ravaged by food shortages, surging crime, and deep economic troubles that have been blamed on Maduro’s socialist regime.
Unemployment in Venezuela is expected to rise to 28 percent next year, nearly quadruple the 7.4 percent unemployment rate posted in 2015. The economy shrank by a whopping 18 percent last year while inflation is slated to rise by 720 percent this year. If nothing changes, the IMF predicts that inflation will balloon over 2,000 percent in 2018.
Meanwhile, Maduro ignited a firestorm of controversy by barring opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding political office for the next 15 years, a move that has been brandished as undemocratic and only the latest in a series of authoritarian overreaches on the part of the deeply unpopular leader.