GM makes it official: We’re leaving Venezuela
NEW YORK — General Motors is officially leaving Venezuela.
The company announced its final departure Tuesday after it had ceased operations following the Venezuelan government’s alleged seizure of GM’s assembly plant in the country on April 18.
The plant hadn’t produced a full car in over a year due to a shortage of imported car parts. However, it was still employing nearly 2,700 workers, who were let go with severance pay after the government action.
Venezuelan officials said the plant wasn’t seized for public use but that it was put under “embargo” until a lawsuit going back to 2000 was resolved. They told GM that the workers should continued to be employed while the plant was under embargo. GM wasn’t interested in those terms.
GM said the final write down of its Venezuelan operations, which were already producing no revenue, would be about $100 million.
The back story is that a local car dealer sued the automaker back in 2000, claiming GM violated a contract. GM denies that and has been litigating the case in the country’s courts ever since.
GM said in a statement that it’s expressed a willingness to talk with government officials about potentially returning to Venezuela and employing some workers — under the right circumstances.
It’s hard to imagine those circumstances appearing soon. Venezuela is in a severe political, economic and humanitarian crisis with violent anti-government protests and severe food and medical shortages.
–Jennifer Hauser contributed reporting to this article