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Cuba removes new car purchase restrictions

Fri, 20 Dec 2013

Granma, the Communist Party’s newspaper of record in Cuba, said Wednesday that the Council of Ministers approved regulations that “eliminate existing mechanisms of approval for the purchase of motor vehicles from the state.”

That means the sale of new and used cars will be allowed to the public. Up until now, Cubans could buy and sell vehicles to each other, but they had to request permission from the government to purchase a new vehicle -- the main reason for the island's unique automotive landscape.

The new laws will be enacted gradually, according to Granma, with a set minimum price. It was one of more than 300 new rules proposed by Raul Castro, who took over for his brother Fidel in 2008.

Before September 2011, only cars that were in Cuba before the 1959 revolution could be freely bought or sold. That’s why we always see cool American classics cruising Cuban streets. There are also many Soviet cars, according to Reuters, from when the USSR was the island’s biggest ally.

The new laws will be published officially in the next few days and will become law 30 days later.

By Jake Lingeman