Venezuela to give local Kellogg unit to workers after company halts operations

Kellogg's exits Venezuela over social and economic 'deterioration'

The Kellogg Company says it's closing operations in Venezuela at a time of widespread hunger in the crisis-wracked South American nation.

Workers were apparently prevented from entering the plant in the central city of Maracay on Tuesday (15 May).

"I've chose to hand the company over to the workers so that they can continue producing for the people", Maduro said at a campaign rally ahead of Sunday's presidential election.

"The current economic and social deterioration in the country has prompted the company to discontinue operations".

Kellogg cited strict currency controls amid a plunge in the bolivar, a lack of raw materials and soaring inflation for its decision to exit the country, the BBC reported. Socialist President Nicolas Maduro's government also stops companies from raising prices to keep up with hyperinflation, denting profits and sometimes rendering operations unsustainable.

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Maduro is blaming everyone for his mess, mostly the USA, but "accusing America of creating Venezuela's crisis is about as fair as accusing O.J. Simpson of murdering Princess Diana - I'm not saying it would be completely out of character, it just happens to not be true in this particular instance", Oliver said.

Kellogg's joins multinationals including Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp., Irving, Texas-based Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc. that have closed or reduced operations in Venezuela amid hyperinflation, shortages and a recession deeper than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In the past, his government has taken over the factories of some companies that have left the country.

"This reminds me of the Clorox case", opposition lawmaker Jose Guerra tweeted about Kellogg. "So that means Corn Flakes are over".

"No Kellogg products or brands should be commercialized in the country without the expressed authorization of the Kellogg Company", Kellogg said in its statement, adding it would like to return to Venezuela in the future.

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