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In the past, unrestricted vehicle sales were only limited to cars built before the Cuban revolution of 1959, giving the streets of Cuba a unique backdrop of Chevrolet Bel Airs, Chrysler Imperials and Studebaker Commanders. Decades under Cuba’s communist regime had prevented its people from purchasing land or new automobiles but finally, a new law legalizing the sale and purchase of any model and any year of cars for all citizens will take effect this Sunday. Cubans will also be allowed ownership of more than one car.
The new laws are passed in hopes to shift a free-market reform, allowing citizens to perform some private enterprise and to rent out rooms or hire employees as well.
In accordance to the new law for vehicle purchases, cars that the state could once seize from Cubans who decide to emigrate can now be transferred to a relative or sold outright. Now, any transaction between a buyer and seller require both parties to pay a 4 percent tax. Moreover, the buyer must be able to show that the money used for the purchase was obtained legally. What this means is the buyers will go to a state-owned dealership to prove that the money used for the purchase of the vehicle was salary earned from an approved field. Money given to the buyer by relatives abroad do not apply.
While this makes it easier than the past, the number of citizens that can actually make enough money to take advantage of the law are wealthy doctors, sponsored athletes, and individuals that have traveled abroad and were eligible to import a car.