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CUBA: Government allows Cubans to buy, sell cars under new rules

September 28, 2011 |  3:42 pm

Cuban cars 

REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY -- For the first time since the 1959 revolution, all Cubans will be allowed to buy and sell their cars, the latest in a series of reforms that are slowly opening up the island nation's tightly restricted economy.

The law was part of a package approved at an extraordinary congress of the ruling Communist Party in April. But it wasn't official until Wednesday when it was published in the government gazette (link in Spanish); it takes effect Oct. 1. Under its terms, buyers and sellers must pay a 4% tax, and buyers must make a sworn declaration that the money used was obtained legally, the Associated Press reports from Havana. Cubans are required to have earned the money for the purchase and can't use remittances sent from relatives abroad.

The pro-government website cubadebate.cu called the measure one of the most eagerly anticipated of all economic reforms (link in Spanish).

But don't expect those vintage clunkers that symbolize Havana to go away anytime soon. Most Cubans will still not be allowed to import new cars.

ALSO:

Lift the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba

Havana seeks better ties with U.S.

Cuba opening to private enterprise spurs service sector start-ups

-- Tracy Wilkinson 

Photo: A classic car passes near the Cuban flag on Sept. 28, 2011. Credit: Associated Press.

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