Ole' Cuba Lifting Restriction on Purchase of Cars

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Havana December 23, 2013; The AIADA newsletter wrote that a story published yesterday in the Detroit News reported that Cuba is opening its automobile market and its roads to thousands of late-model cars by eliminating a special permit that sharply restricted the number of people allowed to buy vehicles from the state, the government announced Thursday.

The communist government has long required any potential buyer to obtain a special card from the Transport Ministry authorizing the purchase of a car. Even for successful applicants, the cards took months or years to obtain, creating a black market in which people with ready cash would buy permits for more than the price of vehicles themselves.

The government lifted restrictions on the sales of used cars between individuals two years ago but the artificial shortage of imported cars raised the prices of all vehicles on the island, meaning even Cuba's iconic, decades-old American-made jalopies sell for tens of thousands of dollars despite their often decrepit condition.

In coming days, the Communist Party newspaper Granma said, "Steps will be taken to eliminate restrictions that lost their reason for being with the passage of time. Administrative shackles that created opportunities for illegal activity will also disappear." For more on the Detroit News story about the future of Cuba's auto market, click here.

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