CARACAS, Venezuela, May 21 (UPI) -- Coca-Cola ceased local production of sugared drinks amid a widespread sugar shortage in Venezuela as the country remains in a state of emergency.
A bottling company partly owned by Coca-Cola, called Coca-Cola FEMSA, announced Thursday it will only bottle as much of the company's namesake soda as their private sugar stockpiles allow, CNN Money reported. Afterward, they will temporarily cease production and search for new sources for the raw material.
The U.S.-based company said production of bottled water and sugar-free drinks will not be affected by the move.
Venezuela is currently embroiled in an economic and humanitarian crisis with widespread food shortages and catastrophic inflation rates. Coca-Cola isn't the first food and beverage company to cease production, industrial beer brewer Empresas Polar did so last month due to lack of funds to buy imported barley.
The decision has left 10,000 workers idle.
President Nicolas Maduro imposed a 60-day state of emergency last week, handing over more power to local authorities. He has blamed the drought and an alleged collusion between the United States and Venezuelan business leaders, including Polar Beer President Lorenzo Mendoza, for the country's problems.
While rich in oil production, Venezuela's food, water and electricity shortages have caused its citizens to call for Maduro's exit, citing alleged mismanagement. Local residents have been outraged authorities have shooed away food delivery trucks from empty supermarkets, according to The Guardian.
Earlier this month, opposition protesters calling to oust Maduro via a recall referendum were met by obstruction and tear gas ahead of a scheduled march.