Cubans encouraged to build their own houses now

January 6th, 2009 - 11:11 am ICT by IANS  

Havana, Jan 6 (IANS) In yet another sign of bringing change to the communist country, President Raul Castro has encouraged Cubans to build thier own houses, EFE news agency reported Tuesday.Raul, who soon after becoming president had allowed people to buy electronics gadgets and stay in luxury hotels, said there will be “no ban” on individuals building their own homes and wanted to develop industrial bases in the country.

“What has to be done here is build hundreds of thousands of houses,” Castro said Sunday during a tour of the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, where 100 houses donated by the Venezuelan government are being built.

“And we are really going to create an industrial base for developing homes. This has gone far enough, we’re really going to do it!” Castro said in comments aired on state television.

Housing is one of the problems most affecting daily life on the communist-ruled island.

Raul Castro, 77, became Cuba’s head of state Feb 24, 2008. He initially served as interim president after his brother, Fidel, was stricken with a severe intestinal illness in July 2006.

Under Raul Castro, Cuba also has transferred vacant farmland into private ownership, given farm workers raises and moved taxi drivers and other jobs over to the private sector.

The government also has allowed Cubans to own cell phones and computers and to rent cars and stay at hotels, which represents a major departure from the radical egalitarianism championed by his brother Fidel.

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