Since Raul Castro assumed leadership of Cuba permanently in February 2008 due to his brother Fidel's failing health there have been some slow but noticeable changes taking place in the communist country.
The latest in the reforms came recently with Castro announcing that Cubans can build their own homes with their own money. As reported by Mercopress, the demand of Cuba's 11 million citizens for housing has been grossly outweighing the supply.
Previously, home construction had been solely the responsibility of the government, but the Cuban regime has only been able to complete about half of its annual goal of 100,000 new homes per year. The situation was made drastically worse when the island was hit by three consecutive hurricanes in 2008 that destroyed almost a half million homes. Castro indicated that the change in policy will allow for faster construction of new dwellings.
Raul Castro said that Cubans will be told where they can build, and how much space they will be allotted and will then be able to carry forth with construction of their new homes with whatever materials they see fit. The announcement was made by Castro as he toured a new neighborhood of Venezuela-built homes while filming a local television program.
Since Raul has taken over the reigns, Cuba has transferred vacant farmland into private ownership, given farm workers raises, and allowed Cubans to own cell phones and computers. Cubans are now able to rent cars and stay at hotels as well.
Unfortunately, many of these new freedoms are out of reach for the citizens of the island nation, who earn about 17 dollars a month on average.