Cuba allowed sale of new cars first time since revolution

3 January 2014 12:25
Cuban citizens will be able to freely buy new and used cars for the very first time since the island country converted to communism in 1959. Previously, citizens were only able to buy and sell cars without government approval if they were built before the revolution, which accounts for the spectacular array of vintage American metal on the island, according to a report by Automotive News. But changes two years ago allowed newer models to be sold to individuals, provided they obtained approval from the country's communist government. The new regulations strip the approval process, though, as part of a push by the country's president, Raul Castro, to increase freedom for average citizens. Although the nation is opening up its automotive market, it may not be quite so affordable to all citizens; most Cubans earn about 20 dollars a month. Newer models may include a 100-percent tax and are meant to fund Cuba's public transport system, according to the Communist Party's newspaper, Granma. Still, the move is likely to be good news for the growing number of private businesses in the country.