Patrick Grieve
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General Motors Grows Valuable Plant in South America, Only to Have it Seized by Government on 4/20

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Dave Chappelle being busted for marijuana in Half Baked

As any medical marijuana dispenser who has been raided by DEA agents can tell you, it’s always a bummer when the government illegally seizes your plant, but it’s especially buzz-killing when the crackdown happens on 4/20, thereby ruining the mood of the #HappyHoliblaze.

And now, General Motors knows that feeling all too well.

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Of course, in this case, the valuable plant in question is not an illicit cash crop, but rather an automotive plant, General Motors Venezolana (GMV), which has been manufacturing vehicles in Venezuela since 1948. The oldest and most traditional automaker in the country, GMV was forced to close its doors today after what GM is calling “an illegal judicial seizure of its assets,” following a trend that has plagued the country for a while now.

GM says that the Latin American plant was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities yesterday, along with other assets of the company, such as vehicles. All of this was done through impromptu judicial rulings, with complete disregard for GMV’s right to due process.

This is all very bad news for the company’s 2,678 workers, its 79 dealers (Venezuela’s largest service network with more than 3,900 workers), and its suppliers (which represent more than 55% of the country’s auto parts industry).

However, GMV did announced that it will “ensure (as far as the authorities permit) payment of the employees’ separation benefits arising from the termination of the employment relationships due to causes beyond the parties’ control.” The company also says that it will, through its dealers, continue to provide aftermarket services and parts for its customers.

Furthermore, the Venezuelan automaker has vowed to “vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights,” and says it remains confident that “justice will eventually be served.”

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GM is the latest in a long line of foreign firms that have had to close their business in Venezuela, due to what the New York Times characterizes as a combination of “political tensions, corruption, high crime rates, a restrictive investment law, and interruptions of electric service.” Those political tensions seem to be reaching a boiling point, as violent street protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro have broken out amid the nation’s deepening economic crisis, which has left many of its people without food and medicine.

Anyway, the whole situation is very sad, and I probably shouldn’t be using it as an excuse to make lame marijuana puns on 4/20.