Raul Castro plans reforms for Cuba
Raul Castro has issued a decree that now enables Cubans to own the titles to the houses they live in, rather than just renting them from the state.
The measure was the first legal decree formally published by the Cuban president since he succeeded his brother Fidel as president in February.The decree spells out rules allowing Cubans renting from their state employers to keep their homes after leaving their posts, the Associated Press reported.Thousands of Cubans could take advantage of the move, including military families, sugar and construction workers, teachers and doctors.They could gain the title to the property and even pass it on to their children or relatives.Holding onto state housing originally designated for specific workers has been a widespread but usually informal part of Cuban life - the new decree is set to formalise this.
The housing reforms and the recent bans that have been lifted could just be the beginning of a whole new Cuba.
The official Granma newspaper also welcomes the lifting of restrictions in several sectors of the economy.
Cuba has introduced a series of reforms since Raul Castro officially took over the presidency from his elder brother Fidel in February.
These include the removal of some restrictions on the purchase of electrical goods.
The state has also lifted a ban on its people staying in hotels previously reserved for foreigners - a measure which has only now been officially acknowledged in the latest edition of Granma.
Cubans have also been given unrestricted access to mobile phones for the first time.