The Venezuelan government’s takeover of a General Motors Co. plant on Wednesday is just the latest incident in a long history of perilous relationships between U.S. corporations and unrest in the South American country, including a number of incidents involving Toledo-area firms.
In 2010, under then-President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela moved to seize a pair of glass plants owned by Owens-Illinois Inc. The Perrysburg company had just a month earlier paid $603 million to buy Venezuela’s third-largest glassmaker in a bid to expand its exposure in emerging markets. At the time, the company had more than 1,000 employees in Venezuela.
A little more than a year ago, the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes ruled that O-I should be awarded more than $485 million by the country to compensate for nationalizing the plants and gave the company standing to pursue the award.
However, in its most recent annual report,…