Cubans win permission to buy and sell modern vehicles

Cubans win permission to buy and sell modern vehicles

The communist regime in Cuba has just legalised the sale and purchase of automobiles for all of its citizens. The new law was given the green light by leader Raul Castro and took effect on October 1st. It allows Cubans to buy and sell cars made after 1959 but buyers and sellers must each pay a 4 percent tax and make a declaration that the money used for the purchase was obtained legally.

Previously, only cars that predated the island’s communist revolution could be commercially traded by anyone not specifically given permission by the government. Which is the reason Cuba is the only place on earth where you could routinely see hundreds of finned American classics from the 1950s cruising the streets in various states of disrepair.

The new law gives the 11-million-strong Cuban population access to other makes like Nissan, Isuzu and Mercedes-Benz that the well-connected have been able to drive in the past 52 years. There are also many Soviet-era vehicles floating around that can now be bought and sold more freely.

The new law states that owners can act “without any prior authorization from any entity,” but there are still various restrictions on the importing and ownership of cars. This new law is just the latest in a series of free-market reforms designed to rescue the island from economic troubles. However, with the average wage in Cuba hovering around USD$20 a month very few people will be buying new cars anytime soon.

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