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Cuba says GDP recovers, up about 1 percent so far in 2017

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HAVANA (AP) — The Cuban government said Friday that the economy is growing again following a decline last year that was the first drop reported in two decades.

Economy Minister Ricardo Cabrisas said at the opening session of the National Assembly that Cuba's GDP grew just over 1 percent in the first six months of 2017 and is on track to hit an estimated 2 percent for the full year.

The rebound came despite the economic crisis in Venezuela, which provides oil and other support to the island. The government said Cuba's economy shrank last year by 1 percent amid falling help from Venezuela, which is struggling with triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages of food and other basic goods. The decrease was the first reported by Cuba in years.

Cuban media quoted Cabrisas as telling the assembly that instability in the supply of Venezuelan oil weighs on the country's economy but tourism, construction, transportation and communications are all growing.

Foreign media were not allowed to attend the session, which was presided over by President Raul Castro.

Some growth in tourism is due to the normalization of relations with the U.S. that was started by President Barack Obama and is now threatened under President Donald Trump.

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