Cuba’s parliament has approved plans to overhaul the country’s stagnating, state-dominated economy and lift some restrictions on citizens’ lives.
The ruling Communist party had already agreed on the proposals. At the National Assembly, President Raul Castro was unequivocal – social and economic reforms are long overdue.
“Let’s clean our heads of all sorts of nonsense,” he said. “Let’s not forget that the first decade of the 21st century is already over and it is time.”
Current rules making it difficult and expensive for Cubans to travel or move abroad could be relaxed. But details of any change in policy, long demanded by human rights groups and many Cubans themselves, were not immediately forthcoming.
Regulations prohibiting the buying and selling of cars and homes are set to be loosened as part of the shake-up. It comes five years after Raul Castro first replaced his ailing brother, Fidel.