Cuba allows sale of computers, electronic appliances to publicMarch 26th, 2008 - 2:41 am ICT by admin
Havana, March 26 (DPA) The Cuban government will officially lift restrictions on the retail sale of computers and electronic home appliances such as television sets to the general public from April 1. A trade ministry resolution dated March 21, viewed Tuesday by DPA, states that Cubans will be able to buy “computers and their accessories, video-playing equipment of all kinds, television sets in all screen sizes, electric pressure cookers, electric rice cookers, electric bicycles and car alarms”.
The officials cited improvements in electricity supply as justification for the move, which represents the first visible change under the new leadership of President Raul Castro, who took over from his ailing brother, long-time revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, in February.
Restrictions currently make computers and appliances available only to certain people in Cuba, but not to ordinary citizens.
The decision revoked an edict of June 2003, which forbad the commercialisation of these products.
“The country has had an improvement in the generation and distribution of electric power,” the document said.
The availability will be “gradual,” subject to availability of the recently allowed goods.
The new Panamanian Ambassador in Cuba, Luis Gomez, said Monday that Cuban teams have been stocking up on home appliances in Panama.
“There are two shipping companies that are bringing products from Panama and travel to Panama twice a week. Before they used to bring eight or 10 containers, now they are bringing 25, 30 or 40 containers,” Gomez told reporters in Havana.
Raul Castro encouraged expectations of change in his inaugural speech Feb 24, when he said he would move to end an “excess in prohibitions and rules” within the “coming weeks”.
These reforms include the sale of some tools for farmers, which has already started in some provinces after only a passing mention on state radio.
Vague comments in the official media have indicated other possible changes - including more flexible migration rules.
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