Venezuela Seizes G.M. Plant in Latest Blow to Foreign Firms

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Venezuela was once among the most lucrative markets in Latin America for foreign businesses, a country oozing in oil and blessed with an emerging middle class hungry for everything modern, from new cars to snug-fitting disposable diapers. But the good times are long gone, and on Thursday, General Motors became the latest in a wave of international companies that have shut their doors voluntarily or under duress, the International New York Times reported. In G.M.’s case, the Venezuelan authorities seized the company’s local vehicle assembly plant. America’s largest automaker said it had been forced to cease operations in Venezuela because of an “illegal judicial seizure of its assets” and would lay off its 2,700 workers there.The move came amid violent street protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro and a deepening economic crisis fueled by Venezuela’s heavy foreign debt and the retreat of world oil prices, which have slashed the country’s main source of income. The average Venezuelan must now wait in long lines for bread and medicine, and many are going hungry and unpaid, as the government struggles to avert default. Read more. (Subscription required.)