Venezuela: Seized US-owned factory was well-stocked, despite closure

July 24, 2016
Kimberly-Clark recently had its factory seized and handed over to the workers.

Warehouses belonging to Kimberly-Clark Corporation — which recently had its factory seized and handed over to the workers — were found to be full of raw materials. This is despite the insistence from the factory's owners that they could not produce goods, Venezuelan industry minister Miguel Perez Abad said on July 15.

Kimberly-Clark is a producer of several personal hygiene and baby care brands including Huggies and Kotex. These products have been in short-supply throughout the country, causing grief for many Venezuelans. Perez Abad added that the factory had enough raw materials to last until the end of the calendar year.

President Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly accused managers and owners of private companies of engaging in an “economic war” against his government by deliberately limiting the availability of basic goods, including personal hygiene products.

The factory halted operations earlier this month and sacked more than 900 workers, with the company alleging that they lacked the raw materials to make their products. In response, the Venezuelan government seized the factory and handed it over to the workers, at their request.

“Kimberly-Clark will continue producing for all Venezuelans and is now in the hands of the workers,” said labour minister Oswaldo Vera.

Maduro had warned in May that shuttered businesses and factories would be given to the workers so production could be restarted.

The Venezuelan government also recently launched a new program aimed at tackling shortages of food and medical supplies in the South American country, which the government has repeatedly linked to the largely private control over supply chain from production to distribution.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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