Cuba's Communist government will authorize the buying and selling of homes and cars before the year's end, by means of a new policy that will eliminate restrictions and simplify the procedures required of Cubans who want to sell their property.
"A policy has been designed to simplify the steps needed to carry out the buying and selling of property, to minimize the existing restrictions in the matter that for years have led to innumerable infractions," the Communist Party daily Granma said Friday.
The new measures were debated several days ago at a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Raul Castro, the paper said.
In the case of real estate, the reform seeks "to help solve the housing problem" in Cuba and will include the enactment of a new General Housing Law, following a review of the 188 laws that chiefly establish "restrictions of an administrative nature."
The buying and selling of homes will basically be legalized, and some regulations will be eased or modified so that Cubans and permanent foreign residents can exchange, give away, bequeath or sell their properties, though the principle will be maintained that "one person cannot own more than one dwelling."
With regard to automobiles, Cubans and permanent foreign residents will be allowed to buy or sell them or give them away, and will be able to acquire more than one vehicle.
Until now Cuban law has established that only vehicles made before 1959 can be sold, and to buy a new car Cubans need government authorization.
Also to be eliminated will be the rule requiring Cubans authorized to buy a new car to hand over their old vehicle to the state or leave it at the junkyard.
President Castro announced in April that laws are being readied to authorize the buying and selling of cars and homes among private citizens, as part of the process of reforms and the modernizing of the economic and social model.
At this week's Cabinet meeting, according to Granma, the president made an urgent call to enact the economic reforms with which he seeks to lift Cuba out of its chronic economic quagmire.
"The accords of (April's Communist Party) Congress will not be left in a drawer," Gen. Castro said.
Raul Castro insisted on the continuing need to cut costs and boost the nation's food production.
Cuba spends more than $1 billion per year on imported foods because of the low productivity of domestic agriculture.