The American cereal maker Kellogg announced on Tuesday it will cease operations in Venezuela because of the country’s economic crisis.
The socialist regime nationalized the company’s production plant in the city of Maracay in response to the move. Kellogg produced dozens of cereals and other products from the plant.
“In December of 2016, Kellogg deconsolidated its Venezuela business from the company’s results,” the company said in a statement. “The current economic and social deterioration in the country has now prompted the company to discontinue operations.”
Speaking to supporters ahead of Sunday’s presidential election – which the international community has condemned as a “sham” for not offering any non-socialist options – leftist dictator Nicolás Maduro described the move as “unconstitutional.”
“We’ve begun judicial proceedings against the business leaders of Kellogg’s because their exit is unconstitutional,” Maduro declared. “I’ve taken the decision to deliver the company to the workers in order that they can continue producing for the people.”
On Wednesday afternoon, local officials confirmed they were reactivating the plant and that food production would soon recommence.
“With no notification, this US-based multinational decided to close its doors, leaving 570 workers hanging,” said Aragua state Governor Marco Torres in Maracay. “Yet, we’re here – in less than 24 hours.”
The company responded to the move with a threat of legal action should their products be sold under their name.
“Kellogg is not responsible for the unauthorized use of the commercial names and brands that are the property of the company and will exercise legal actions available as necessary,” they said in a statement, adding that they would like to return to Venezuela in the future.
The Kellogg company, which has ties to left-wing activism in the United States, is one of many American multi-nationals to leave Venezuela in recent years amid a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis that has left millions of people in abject poverty and without necessary living resources.
Dizzying rates of inflation, currently at nearly 14,000 percent, have rendered the country’s currency practically worthless and mean that most Venezuelans can no longer afford branded products such as Kellogg’s cereal. Many supermarkets lie empty as the government develops greater control of food distribution.
In 2016, a similar incident occurred where the Venezuelan government seized a factory run by the American paper firm Kimberly-Clark, who were forced to shut down operations after failing to obtain the raw materials.