- Title: Cuban economy still afloat despite sanctions - official
- Date: 20th December 2019
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (DECEMBER 20, 2019) (REUTERS) FORMER PRESIDENT RAUL CASTRO AND PRESIDENT MIGUEL DIAZ CANEL ENTERING THE ASSEMBLY HALL DEPUTIES APPLAUDING PRESIDENT MIGUEL DIAZ CANEL APPLAUDING VIEW OF ASSEMBLY
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2020 17:37
- Keywords: Cuba Cuba economy Cuba revenue U.S. sanctions
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Budget/Taxation/Revenue,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAS7DJ7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The Cuban economy remained barely in the black this year despite punishing new U.S. sanctions, the country's economy minister said on Friday, forecasting 1 pct growth in 2020.
The government has called on Cubans to "resist" and "develop" the economy amidst fuel, food, medicine and other shortages this year as a patriotic duty in the face of renewed hostility from its Cold War foe.
The administration of President Donald Trump has ratcheted up the long-standing trade embargo. Sanctions have been slapped on more than 200 Cuban companies, as well as on foreign companies involved in the Venezuela-Cuba oil trade on which the energy dependent Caribbean island depends.
Travel to the island has also been further restricted and U.S. citizens allowed to bring lawsuits against foreign companies deemed to be trafficking in Cuban properties nationalized after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, damaging investor appetite.
Gil had forecast 0.5 percent growth this year after a 2.2 pct increase in 2018. He said the government was still compiling data on this year's economic performance and final figures would be available next year.
Already heavily in debt to foreign governments, partners and suppliers due to the implosion of ally Venezuela's economy, Gil said austerity measures aimed at paying back debt and resisting U.S. sanctions would remain in effect in 2020 and might have to be increased.
The measures include steep reductions in fuel allocations to agriculture and other sectors, reduction of imported fertilizer and animal feed, cuts in electricity use and even cooking with wood at some bakeries and schools.
(Production: Rodrigo Gutierrez, Mario Fuentes, Nelson Gonzalez)
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