Venezuela takes over Kimberly-Clark facilities: Official

By: | Published: July 12, 2016 11:21 AM

Venezuela's embattled government has said it would take over operations at facilities where US consumer goods giant Kimberly-Clark just shut down, citing unworkable economic conditions.

"As of today, Kimberly-Clark's doors are open and its production on line," the minister said, recalling that President Nicolas Maduro has warned that companies that cease production stand to lose their facilities. (Reuters)“As of today, Kimberly-Clark’s doors are open and its production on line,” the minister said, recalling that President Nicolas Maduro has warned that companies that cease production stand to lose their facilities. (Reuters)

Venezuela’s embattled government has said it would take over operations at facilities where US consumer goods giant Kimberly-Clark just shut down, citing unworkable economic conditions.

“We are going to sign, at the workers’ request to authorise immediate occupation of the workplace known as Kimberly-Clark de Venezuela by its workers,” Labour Minister Oswaldo Vera yesterday said at the facility’s plant in the central city of Maracay.

The country’s economy has been hard hit by the plunging value of its main export, oil.

Analysts also criticise its state-led economy of gross mismanagement leading to shortagesof toilet paper, diapers and food.

Vera signed the document to loud cheers; he said machines would be back in operation within hours.

“As of today, Kimberly-Clark’s doors are open and its production on line,” the minister said, recalling that President Nicolas Maduro has warned that companies that cease production stand to lose their facilities.

The American company announced on Saturday it would cease production. It said it was impossible to get enough hard currency who buy raw materials, and that inflation was surging. The maker of diapers and toilet paper said it would re-evaluate conditions for resuming its operations in the future if conditions change.

Maduro, an elected socialist, has blamed an “economic war” caused by “right-wing bosses” for the mass shortages.

In a sign of Maduro’s concern at mounting social unrest, the president on Thursday replaced the head of the National Guard.

The Venezuelan opposition launched efforts to remove the president after winning control of the legislature in January.

But Maduro has challenged his rivals through the Supreme Court, which they accuse him of controlling.

The government has already filed a case in the court against the referendum bid.

The national electoral board has said it will announce by July 26 whether enough signatures have been authenticated for the referendum drive to proceed.

If that happens, Maduro’s opponents must collect four million more signatures to call a full referendum on his
removal.

The opposition is rushing to complete the recall process by January 10, the cutoff date to trigger new elections.

After that date, a successful recall vote would simply hand power to Maduro’s hand-picked vice president.

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