Cuba legalized the sale and purchase of automobiles for all citizens on Wednesday, another major step in the communist run island’s economic transformation and one that the public has been clamoring for during decades, the Associated Press reports.
The government announced the move in April, but sales have been on hold until the measure was published into law in the Official Gazette.
Under the law, which takes effect Oct. 1, buyers and sellers must each pay a 4 percent tax, and buyers must make a sworn declaration that the money used for the purchase was obtained legally.
Unrestricted sales had previously been limited to cars built before the 1959 revolution, one of the reasons Cuba’s streets are about the only place on the planet one routinely finds a multitude of finned American classics from the 1950s such as Chevrolets Bel Airs and Chrysler Imperials, all in various states of disrepair.
Doctors, athletes, artists and others sent abroad on official business were allowed to bring cars back or purchase a boxy, Russian-made Lada or Moskvich from the state. Some senior workers were given company cars, though gas usage is strictly monitored to make sure they are only driven for work reasons.
The new law will allow the sale of cars from all models and years, and it legalizes ownership of more than one car, although tax rates go up slightly.
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