DETROIT (AP) — General Motors could be making an effort to return to Venezuela after announcing it was shuttering operations following a court-ordered seizure of its factory in the South American country.
The plant in the industrial city of Valencia was confiscated last week, along with GM’s bank accounts and other assets, as anti-government protesters clashed with security forces and pro-government groups — a surprise decision that drew the U.S. into the country’s increasing political turmoil.
But President Nicolas Maduro’s administration has bent over backward to assure GM that it had no intention of expropriating the factory. The seizure of the plant, which hasn’t produced a single car since 2015, arose from an almost 20-year-old lawsuit brought by a former GM dealership.
GM Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens appeared to walk back the decision to leave Venezuela.
“We don’t necessarily want to exit the country, but certainly it’s not an environment that you can invest in or run a normal business at this point,” he said Friday in a conversation with reporters to discuss first quarter earnings.
Labor Minister Francisco Torrealba invited the company to claim the plant back.
“The Venezuelan state is supporting, and wants to see, production at General Motors return to its maximum level in the hands of its legitimate owners,” Labor Minister Francisco Torrealba in an interview on state TV this week. “The government is willing to provide all the guarantees so that General Motors normalizes its operations in Venezuela and produces lots of cars as it has for decades.”
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