United States reviewing Venezuela's seizure of GM assets


"Protests will need to grow and persist over the coming weeks to force a political transition", Eurasia analyst Risa Grais-Targow said in a note on Thursday.

"Immediately the global media and those irresponsible people, including that trash called Capriles, came out to accuse the government, the revolution, the army, the National Guard", Maduro said, wearing a white doctor's gown during a televised address meant to showcase Venezuela's health system, which is in fact crumbling. Union leaders at the plant said in February that GM had not assembled any new vehicles in Venezuela since 2015 and was limiting production to replacement parts. They were met by curtains of tear gas and rubber bullets as they tried to march to downtown Caracas.

Ford suspended operations at its Valencia, Venezuela, plant in December 2016 due to slumping sales.

General Motors has stopped doing business in Venezuela after authorities took control of its only factory there in what GM called an illegal judicial seizure of its assets.

But the sharp deterioration of the economy, which has put many foods and medicines out of the reach of the average citizen, and a more organized and united opposition coalition have injected fresh energy into the current protests.

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Hundreds of workers desperate for information about their jobs gathered at the plant Thursday to meet with government and military officials as well as representatives of the dealership that brought the lawsuit.

Venezuela says it has not seized a General Motors plant in the country for state use.

General Motors' announcement comes as Venezuela's opposition looks to keep up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro, taking to the streets again Thursday after three people were killed and hundreds arrested in the biggest anti-government demonstrations in years.

"The funds raised for the inaugural celebration allowed President Donald Trump to give the American people the opportunity to experience an incredible moment in our democracy where we witnessed the peaceful transition of power, the cornerstone of American democracy", said Tom Barrack, chairman of the inaugural committee, in a statement. Three people were killed Wednesday as police quelled protests with tear gas and gun shots.

In Washington, the State Department said in a statement that it was reviewing details of the factory seizure and called on Venezuelan authorities to resolve the case "rapidly and transparently".

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Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol is blaming an opposition party for the killing of a 23-year-old woman amid ongoing protests in the South American country.

The Houston, Texas-based Citgo is among 20 companies and individuals who made the largest donations to the committee organizing the president's events, according to documents released by the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday. "In addition, other assets of the company, such as vehicles, have been illegally taken from its facilities", the company said. "We'll see who tires out first".

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Some disturbances continued into the night, with reports of looted bakeries, supermarkets and food centers in western Caracas. The American auto company said authorities took over the factory on Wednesday and started taking cars from it. Pro-government militias, some of whose members were armed, were blamed for the two deaths, including that of a teenager in Caracas who was heading to a soccer game with friends.

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