US

Cuba sees economic slump despite US detente

Cuban officials say the island's economy shrank this year despite an increased opening with the United States.

Economy Minister Ricardo Cabrisas says the island's gross domestic product fell nearly 1 percent after seeing a growth rate of nearly 3 percent from 2011-2015.

Cabrisas on Tuesday blamed the slump on shrinking exports and financial troubles in allied Venezuela.

Cabrisas said a drop in petroleum prices for the South American country limited its sale of crude oil to Cuba as well as the number of contracts for professional services. A large number of Cuban doctors have long traveled to Venezuela, with their salaries going directly to the Cuban government.

Cabrisas also blamed U.S. sanctions on Cuba. Officials say the 55-year-old embargo has cost the island $125.9 billion, including $4.6 billion last year.