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Cubans Now Allowed to Build Homes With Their Own Money

Ever since he assumed power from his brother Fidel last year, Raul Castro, has rolled out some symbolic economic efforts that are changing the face of Cuba. The latest move allows Cubans to build their own homes using private money. It may sound like a basic right, but it's a big step for the country and aims to alleviate a housing shortage that was made worse with last year's devastating hurricane, which wrecked more than 1 million homes.

Up until now the construction of homes has been the responsibility of the government, but the state hasn't been fulfilling its yearly goal of building 100,000 new homes.

There is a catch to the new freedom, which Castro announced during a televised address, as there will be strict guidelines for the dimensions of proposed new dwellings. A shortage of building materials will also limit the number of people who are actually able to take advantage of the law change. Cement is offered for sale by the state, but other materials like stone and iron are only available on the black market.


Join The Conversation
Mina-Xue Mina-Xue 8 years
Cubans Now Allowed to Build Homes With Their Own Money ..."With Their Own Money" I'm sad to think that would really be something that you can't allow a person to do. What a sad sentence.
chancleta chancleta 8 years
Speaking as the daughter of a Cuban immigrant I have to say: 1. Thank God! 2. Raul is just as crazy as Fidel. We're a LONG way from building good relations with that psycho. 3. Green homes? Seriously? Right now these people are just happy to be allowed to build period. There biggest worries are keeping a strong roof over their heads.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
I agree with the last part you said Peachy! Cuba has many poor looking parts but I think its beautiful!
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 8 years
I think this is a great opportunity to build "green homes" Cuba could be a model for other countries in the Caribbean - there is TOO MUCH development and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic (well, development that is done badly and is degrading the environment). I mean I know my former boss (this White guy) vacationed in PR and he said it was just like NYC, obviously he was referring to the more urban areas like in San Juan - but still there is no reason for an island to resemble NY. I get so saddened for relatives and friends who lose lands to real estate firms and other international business giants and they get employed to cater to turists but they don't get to build their own homes. I don't know what these guidelines are but if Raul has any foresight and is thoughtful or strategic he'll try to insure a beautiful Cuba for the future and not one that will be vulnerable to Americans that want to build ugly hotels and concrete buildings...I hope that Cubans don't try to emulate Americans that have built so many ugly McMansions. Ok, end of rant.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
Raul may be changing things slowly and leaving many restrictions in place, but that's a much better path to take than just lifting all restrictions and creating a free for all. Like business, countries that grow slowly are better able to adjust and sustain the improvements. I am very happy to see these changes taking effect.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
IMO it is clearly time to consider lifting the embargo against Cuba. Raul has consistently been taking baby steps towards reform and we need to respond in kind by at least opening a new dialogue with the leader. Building a new home would also be made much easier without an embargo in place.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
One step at a time. I'll be interested to see how things continue to change after Fidel's death, too.
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
Just another reason I'm glad to live in the US. This is so sad. I just remember that no matter how disheartened I may be with our government and our government officials, we're still not as bad off as a lot of countries.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i haven't paid as much attention to what's going on in Cuba lately as i probably should, but i'm glad that this change is happening. even though it sounds like there will be strict guidelines, at least it's giving people a freedom that they didn't have before to make something for themselves. it has to be hard to be living in a country that has such rigid laws/rules for everything. i wonder what else will change in the coming years.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 8 years
I definitely think that Raul is impulsed to do more for Cuba but with Fidel still around his actions are very limited.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
The title to this article is real sad. Raul Castro has been changing a few things here and there since he took office. Hopefully when Fidel dies he changes much more.
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