Venezuela takes over Kimberly-Clark plant as crisis deepens

The Venezuelan government accused Kimberly-Clark of participating in an international plot to damage the country's economy.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Kimberly-Clark employees stand outside the company in Maracay, Venezuela, July 10, 2016.

Venezuela's government will take over operations of a factory belonging to US personal care giant Kimberly-Clark Corp after the company suspended its business in the country, citing deteriorating economic conditions.

Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro said Kimberly-Clark violated national laws and warned other companies of similar action should they halt their operations in the country.

On Saturday, Kimberly-Clark joined Bridgestone, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and other multinational corporations in scaling back operations in Venezuela amid its political crisis. The country's economy has also been hard hit by the plunging value of its main export, oil.

According to the Venezuelan government, the Kimberly-Clark plant was reopened at the 'request of the 971 workers' who had been left jobless after the US company ceased its operations. 

The government will now provide funds to the workers at the plant to continue producing the basic commodities which have gradually disappeared from the market shelves across the country since the start of this year.

Employees stand outside Kimberly-Clark facility in Maracay.

The development comes just as Maduro revealed that Citibank was going to close the accounts of the Central Bank of Venezuela in 30 days.

But the Venezuelan leader sounded defiant in a television and radio address, saying his country would move forward despite the "new imperialist inquisition" of US President Barack Obama.

"Do you think they are going to stop us by putting in place a financial blockade? No, ladies and gentlemen, nobody stops Venezuela! With Citibank or without it, we are moving forward. With Kimberly or without, we are moving," Maduro said.

The Irving, Texas-based Kimberly-Clark said on Monday that it acted appropriately in suspending operations.

"If the Venezuelan government takes control of Kimberly-Clark facilities and operations, it will be responsible for the well-being of the workers and the physical assets, equipment and machinery in the facilities going forward," the company said in a statement.

TRTWorld and agencies