Cuba To Ease Curbs on Car Sales

First time since the 1959 revolution

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Sven Creutzmann / Mambo Photography / Getty Images

A classic 1950s American car drives on the coastal oceanfront Malecon highway past restored buildings on Nov. 30, 2004 in Havana.

Cubans will soon be allowed to purchase new and used vehicles from government retailers without permission for first time since the 1959 revolution, state media announced Thursday.

The move comes two years after a reform allowed Cubans to buy and sell second-hand vehicles from one another but stopped short of allowing them to do the same from the state. Granma, the Communist Party newspaper, reports that the decision to “eliminate mechanisms of approval for the purchase of motor vehicles from the state” was approved on Wednesday by the Council of Ministers.

The decision was made after “several months of study,” Granma said, and a fund made up of the new income will support the development of public transportation. The Cabinet also plans to prioritize the retail sales of bicycles to encourage their use.