The New York Times looks at the new market for cars that is emerging since last month’s decrees, and finds a guy who is happy that he can unload his Moskovich and do something else with the money.
Purchase and sale of cars made before 1959 was already legal. The new action allows Cubans to sell cars made since then. These cars, Soviet-era Ladas and more recent Korean and other makes, are generally in the hands of Cubans who got the privilege of acquiring a car due to their position in government, their service in military or medical missions abroad, or other factors.
Purchase of new cars is opened up, but with odd restrictions. Certain state employees who earn hard currency qualify; so do artists and medical personnel who served on missions abroad, and a very select few who work for The Empire – Cuban workers and retirees at the Guantanamo naval base. The list (and the entire set of decrees) is at page 340, Chapter II, right-hand column here (pdf).
Excluded are others such as entrepreneurs, farmers, and foreign company employees, some of whose earnings could well permit them to buy a new car. Not to mention an average Cuban who receives money from a relative abroad. In this new policy, the intention is clearly not to attract as much capital as possible from abroad. People with money in all these categories will have to settle for the used car market where, as the Times notes, prices are through the roof.