Venezuela: Closure of Kellogg Factory 'Illegal'

And the government reacts by seizing said factory from US cereal-maker
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2018 7:37 AM CDT
Kellogg Tried to Ditch Venezuela. It Didn't Quite Work
Workers wait for information about their jobs outside the Kellogg factory in Maracay, Venezuela, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Hernandez)

The Kellogg Company decided it had had enough of Venezuela—but Venezuela apparently hasn't had enough of Kellogg. Pointing fingers at the "deterioration" of the country's economic situation, the US cereal-maker announced Tuesday it was closing shop there, leaving 400 workers fresh out of a job, reports the Wall Street Journal. But soon after those employees walked into that news at the Kellogg factory in Maracay, Labor Minister Nestor Ovalles showed up to assure them the government was working to "ensure their rights and employment," with President Nicolas Maduro calling the closure "absolutely unconstitutional and illegal," the BBC reports. The government's remedy: It has seized the Maracay plant. "I've taken the decision to deliver the company to the workers in order that they can continue producing for the people," Maduro told supporters in Carabobo.

Kellogg isn't the first company to ditch the beleaguered nation: Per Reuters, Clorox, General Mills, General Motors, and Kimberly-Clark have also bolted, with similar factory seizures. "The government maintains a noose around the private sector," leading to defections like Kellogg's, a local business chamber chief tells the Journal. "If there's no change in economic policies, there will be more closures." Kellogg, which has been in Venezuela for nearly 60 years and produces nearly all the nation's breakfast cereal, says it hopes to return there "as soon as the conditions of the country allow it" and insists its brands shouldn't be sold "without [its] expressed authorization." (Trump has banned Americans from using Venezuelan "petro" currency.)

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