Tuesday, April 19th 2011 – 04:57 UTC
Private property returns after 50 years: Cubans allowed to buy and sell
Cuba says it will allow people to buy and sell their homes for the first
time since the communist revolution in 1959. For the past 50 years,
Cubans have only been allowed to pass on their homes to their children,
or to swap them through a complicated and often corrupt system.
The move was decided during the first congress held by the ruling
Communist Party in 14 years, aimed at breathing new life into the
communist system. No details were given on how the new property sales
Cuban President Raul Castro warned that the concentration of property
would not be allowed.
During the congress, President Castro also said top political positions
should be limited to two five-year terms, and promised "systematic
rejuvenation" of the government.
He said the party leadership was in need of renewal and should subject
itself to severe self-criticism. The proposal is unprecedented under
In an editorial published in Cuban state media, former president and
leader of the 1959 revolution Fidel Castro endorsed the changes saying
his brother's words made him proud.
He wrote that a new generation was needed to correct the errors of the
past to ensure the communist system survived once the current generation
of leaders had gone.
Cuba's Communist Party approved the reforms on Monday. State media
reported that party members also voted for a new party leadership, but
the results were not immediately disclosed.
Other key points raised by Raul Castro include laws allowing the
self-employed and "the general population" to access credit; more than
200,000 Cubans have taken out licenses to open small businesses since
October, when the private sector was expanded; the ration book is an
"unbearable weight on the economy" but won't be eliminated without first
creating better economic conditions; the Communist Party should not be
involved in administration of the state, and leaders should eradicate
the misconception that belonging to the Communist Party is a
prerequisite for holding a government post; there must be "systematic
rejuvenation" of all key posts, including president and Communist Party
Raul Castro finally reiterated his inclination to hold talks with the