Venezuela’s Top CEO Has Choice Words for Maduro

El conglomerado más grande de alimentos de Venezuela está amenazado por el chavismo (El Cambur)
Venezuela’s largest food producer and distributor is in the crosshairs of the Maduro administration. (El Cambur)

Editor’s note: since release in Spanish, the expropriation threat has died down, but Polar employees remain vigilant.

EspañolLorenzo Mendoza, CEO of Venezuela’s iconic food production company Empresas Polar, has taken to the public domain to air his concerns with President Nicolás Maduro. Amid rumors of a government takeover, he published an open letter on Thursday, April 27.

In his letter, Mendoza urges the president to work together for the good of the country. In that vein, he demands that the administration follow the 12-step economic plan Polar delivered a year ago during talks organized by the central government.

“We all share the same interests: we want the country to move forward,” writes Mendoza, whose company has been threatened with expropriation by both the late Hugo Chávez and now Maduro.

While reminding Maduro that Polar directly generates “over 30,000 jobs,” Mendoza says he welcomes a peaceful response from the government: “We have always been willing to engage in dialogue to have fluid, sincere, and respectful communication.”

The Letter in Full:

Mr. President,

I address you through this letter to let you know our willingness to share our point of view regarding the conditions affecting the supply of food and beverages we produce, which in turn impacts the quality of life of all Venezuelans.

Empresas Polar is a Venezuelan corporation that has operated for almost 75 years in the country due to the trust granted by its shareholders over the course of four generations. We started in 1941 in Antímano with 50 workers, and ever since we have reinvested every year.

Today, we generate 30,000 productive jobs, and contribute to the well-being of all Venezuelans. This we have achieved thanks to the investment and hard work of all our members, offering top-quality products that have earned the preference and trust of Venezuelans.

We give back to the community wherever we have a presence in the country by creating gainful employment with excellent benefits and by paying our taxes. Furthermore, since our inception, it has been established through our statutes that we support the community through several initiatives to promote key areas: health, education, community development, and sports, among others. It was, at the time, an unprecedented commitment, and we have lived up to it throughout the years, as Venezuelans will acknowledge.

Besides counting on state-of-the-art production plants and the best human resources, one of our main strengths is our commercial system that distributes our products every day to over 189,000 clients across the country.

It’s a great effort launched since the beginnings, made possible by our employees at 140 branch offices and subsidiaries. We’re proud of this achievement because we’re able to serve not only big clients but also small ones, corner grocery stores in the cities as well as in small towns and villages. It’s a work done by Venezuelans for Venezuelans, supported by our business philosophy’s three fundamental pillars: investment, hard work, and commitment to Venezuela.

This shows that we are part of the solution and we are determined to contribute by all possible means for Venezuelans to have all the products they need, in a timely manner and at affordable prices. Our raison d’être as businessmen is to invest, create jobs, produce, distribute, establish win-win relationships, and bring prosperity to all those involved along the entire value chain.

We believe it’s important to encourage domestic production, to value products made in Venezuela, and that’s why most of our resources are invested in the country. In 2014 alone, Polar invested over 7.2 billion Bs. in Venezuela.

Over the last two years we started several new plants: for pasteurized yogurt, corn flakes, cachapa mixtures, tea powder, and jello. Furthermore, we expanded our production capacity of PAN flour to 43 million monthly kilos, and of margarine in our plant in Valencia to 2.5 million kilos.

Mr. President, the last time we had the opportunity to meet face to face was two years ago. And then, in 2014, I received your invitation to attend the Peace Conference. I was there to offer my contribution regarding the need for the public and private sectors to join forces, as well as to present 12 economic proposals we believe should be a priority.

We have always been willing to engage in dialogue and to have a fluid, sincere, and respectful communication. We firmly believe the best way to offer solutions to the people regarding the shortages is through the joint efforts of both the state and private enterprise.

We are all Venezuelans who have the same interest: we want the country to move forward and its people to prosper. The best thing that can happen is for all Venezuelans to do well, and the only way to achieve it is by working together for our country.

Lorenzo Mendoza Giménez
CEO, Empresas Polar

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