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Cuba appoints new economy minister amid ongoing fiscal struggles

Cuba's President Raul Castro in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Cuba's President Raul Castro in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, April 16, 2016.  (ap)

Cuba is reassigning its economics minister to a different post where he will continue to supervise the direction of the country's struggling economy.

An announcement Wednesday night in state media said Vice President Marino Murillo will be replaced as economy minister by Ricardo Cabrisas, another VP and longtime politician.

Murillo will head a special commission overseeing economic matters. The announcement said it is key for him to "concentrate his efforts on tasks related to updating Cuba's economic and social model."

Murillo has spearheaded economic reforms under President Raul Castro that have allowed a smattering of private-sector activity. He retains his VP rank.

The shuffle takes place shortly after Murillo and Castro said the country faces tough fiscal times due in part to a drop in oil assistance from ally Venezuela.

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