General Motors Co. shut operations in Venezuela after authorities seized the automaker’s plant and took its vehicles in the first nationalization of a major company’s facilities in the country in more than two years.
GM’s factory was “unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations,” according to an emailed statement. The Detroit-based automaker 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.”
The plant shutdown took place as protesters flooded the capital city of Caracas in the biggest show of opposition to President Nicolas Maduro’s government in months. The auto industry has collapsed, with sales plunging 92 percent in March, as a shortage of dollars has pushed new car prices beyond the means of all but the wealthiest Venezuelans.
Venezuela is experiencing the worst recession in decades, with gross domestic product plummeting 10 percent in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund. Revenue from oil, which accounts for 95 percent of foreign-currency earnings, has tumbled along with prices. With the country short on cash for imports, citizens wait in long lines to find scarce household items. …