August 2, 2016 / 8:35 PM / 3 years ago

Venezuela renames Kimberly-Clark plant for indigenous warrior

The logo of Kimberly-Clark is seen in Maracay, Venezuela, July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s socialist government is renaming a plant it has taken over from U.S.-based multinational Kimberly-Clark Corp after a local indigenous warrior.

Tareck El Aissami, governor of Aragua province where the plant is based, said workers chose to rename it “Cacique Maracay Productive Plant” for a local Indian leader who fought against Spanish colonial rule in the 16th century.

“Kimberly-Clark will soon be named Cacique Maracay, elected by the workers,” he was quoted as saying by local media. “It will be a new company in its way of production and distribution, committed to the country.”

After two decades in Venezuela, the U.S. personal care products maker halted operations last month, saying it was unable to obtain raw materials or hard currency and was struggling with high inflation.

Authorities quickly took over the plant.

Kimberly-Clark was producing toilet paper, sanitary towels, diapers and tissues, all scarce products for Venezuelans, who spend long hours in line to obtain them.

Critics say nationalizations and takeovers during 17 years of socialist rule in Venezuela, under the late Hugo Chavez, who was president from 1999-2013, and now under President Nicolas Maduro, have destroyed local production and cowed private business.

The government says it is rescuing Venezuela from rapacious capitalists and putting resources back in the hands of the people.

Reporting by Daniel Kai; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Leslie Adler

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