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New law in Cuba could help ease housing shortage

This plaza market is exclusively for private entrepreneurs to sell their wares.

Steve Chiotakis: People in Cuba can now, reportedly,
buy and sell property for the first time since the country's Communist revolution.

The BBC's Michael Voss reports the Cuban government hopes the new law will also ease a severe housing shortage.


Michael Voss: Most Cubans do officially own the title to their homes and can pass them on to their children. But buying or selling real estate is not allowed. The only way to move was through a complicated trading system, which often involved illegal payments and bribes to government officials.

The result is a chronic housing shortage with three, sometimes four generations often forced to live together in tiny cramped apartments. The new law, announced on the front page of the communist party Newspaper Granma, will take effect on November 10th.

Jorge Luis Tapia was recently elected to the communist party's central committee. He's leading efforts to rejuvenate the island's stagnant economy.

Jorge Luis Tapia: We have to change our mentality. To engage with the private sector and know more about their concerns.

The majority of the Cuban economy will remain in state hands, but changes are afoot. Besides homes, car sales were just recently legalized and Cubans can hire workers for some small business work.

In Havana, I'm the BBC's Michael Voss for Marketplace.

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