The age of 50s clunkers choking Cuba’s roads may be over, after
state media announced restrictions on buying foreign-made cars are being eased.
Vintage vehicles could be replaced by modern motors in Raul Castro’s latest step toward greater economic freedom.
For the first time in half a century, state sellers will be offering new and used vehicles to buyers who will not need government permission.
“I can buy, but with what?” said resident Jorge Canso.
“Unfortunately our economy does not allow us to save money to be able to buy. It might cost 300, 400 or 500 pesos, fine…You might be able to make some kind of sacrifice.”
Until relatively recently, only cars that were in Cuba before its
revolution could be freely bought and sold. Hence the large number of 1950s or older cars and Soviet-era vehicles.
Cabbie Rolando de la Vega is looking forward to a more modern fleet on the roads. “To be honest, these cars are falling apart. We are working as taxi drivers but the cars are in a really bad state,” he said.
The new regulations are expected to include stiff taxes, with the proceeds going to fund the Communist-led island’s decrepit public transport system.