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AKIPRESS.COM - General Motors said it has been forced to stop operating in Venezuela after one of its plants was illegally seized by local authorities.
The seizure, in the country's industrial hub of Valencia, comes amid a deepening economic and political crisis that has sparked weeks of deadly street protests.
General Motors Venezolana, GM's local subsidiary, said it "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."
It comes as the South American nation experiences intense public protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Three people were killed late Wednesday as tens of thousands of Venezuelans took the streets to demand fresh presidential elections and the release of jailed opposition politicians.
The country has high crime and inflation rates and there are shortages of many basic goods and services. Maduro has used his Socialist government's institutions to pursue political opponents.
Relations with the United States have been tense in recent years, although Maduro's anti-American rhetoric has softened since President Trump took office.
Venezuela's Information Ministry was not immediately available for comment to explain the seizure.
General Motors Venezolana, GM's local subsidiary, was established in 1948 and employs about 2,700 workers and has 79 dealers in the country. The firm said it would make "separation payments" to affected workers.