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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.

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