Workers Protest Expropriation of “Polar” Food Production Plant in Venezuela

A file photo a Polar beer plant. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Workers at Polar, Venezuela’s largest private food producer, protested the expropriation of their plant in Caracas on Thursday, after a court ordered their eviction for the building of low cost homes, DPA reported.

The measure affects Polar’s largest food production and distribution facility in Caracas and the subsidiaries of PepsiCo, Cargill and Nestle, which rely on Polar’s distribution network.

The production plant occupies an entire city block at La Yaguara, in the capital’s south-west.

The facility is being expropriated days after President Nicolas Maduro publicly accused Polar’s owner, Lorenzo Mendoza, of supporting what he calls an “economic war” against the people.

The workers said they will keep staging protests at the plant to oppose the expropriation order, for which the court established a 60-day term.

Jesus Graterol, a spokesperson for the workers of PepsiCo, said the court authorities and the National Guard troops (militarized Police) presented the plant eviction order to facilitate the study of the land for the building of homes as part of a government program.

Through their Twitter account (#todossomospolar), Polar employees stated it “is regrettable that no thought is devoted to how the population of Caracas will be affected in terms of food distribution following the expropriation.”

They declared the protest will be maintained to fight the expropriation order and defend their jobs.

“We’re barely managing to keep production going because of a lack of hard currency [for imports] and now they want to take the distribution center from us. We’ll continue to fight,” they announced.

Opposition leaders warned that this expropriation could worsen the consumer product shortages that have forced Venezuelans to stand in line outside supermarkets for several months.

Former deputy and opposition leader Maria Corina Machado called on people to come in defense of Polar, pointing out that its workers “embody our deepest aspirations to improve as a nation.”

“To defend Polar is to defend our right to a prosperous, safe and free Venezuela. To expropriate is to steal. President Nicolas Maduro has caused a humanitarian crisis and is now intentionally making it worse,” she stated.

The center-right opposition party Primero Justicia declared it was “ludicrous” that the government, instead of working with the private sector, should “stifle it, to the detriment of our people.”

“The overwhelming majority of Venezuelans consider expropriations arbitrary and unproductive,” he said during a declaration. “The expropriation of the Polar plant is the kind of radicalism that has brought about this crisis,” he added.

Recently, the government ordered private food producers to destine their products to government distribution networks, prompting reactions from private companies, which warned that the measure could worsen shortages. The government reverted the order shortly afterwards.

Venezuela is Cuba’s largest trade partner and closest political ally.

5 thoughts on “Workers Protest Expropriation of “Polar” Food Production Plant in Venezuela

  • The unofficial, and therefore real, inflation rate in Venezuela has hit 808%. Wealth is being destroyed every minute. This is the disaster socialism has wrought.

  • Maduro may want to make plans for early retirement to Cuba. Venezuela has had enough of his failed leadership.

  • Practicing eminent domain on a food distributor already struggling in Venezuela’s economy which has gone to hell is just going to make things worse for Maduro. He picked on the wrong segment of the economy because when people can’t find the food they need or want, they will revolt.

  • Fidel was a brilliant, charismatic, megalomaniac. Maduro, who didn’t even graduate from high school is just an idiot.

  • Maduro is modelling his actions upon those of his mentor and guide, Fidel Castro Ruz. His objective is to achieve total power and control and to form a one-party communist state similar to that of Cuba.
    As is the case with the Castro family regime in Cuba, Maduro cares naught for his people. Given any chance, he will eventually reduce them to a level of poverty similar to that which exists in Cuba.
    The people of Venezuela will have to act to ensure one free election and get rid of this megalomaniac.

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