Cuba, Classic Cars, and Government Monopolies (Slideshow)

The government of Cuba has finally dropped the requirement that citizens get government authorization before purchasing a vehicle.

In 2011, the government lifted restrictions that only allowed Cubans to buy and sell cars made before 1959. However, purchasing a vehicle still required a government permit which was extremely hard to obtain and usually reserved for government officials, athletes and celebrities.

Although the government has now removed this restriction, very few Cubans will actually benefit. The government has a monopoly on the sale of new cars, and marks them up by 400% or more.

A BBC correspondent covering the story in Havana reported that a new Peugot 508 on sale in the country’s capital is priced at $262,000, 8 times more than in Britain. And even a five-year old version of that model is selling for $85,000.

The average Cuban makes about $20 a month, so it’s unlikely that classic American cars will be disappearing from Cuban streets anytime soon. Here’s a slideshow of a few of these classic cars in and around Havana (click an image to enlarge).

Read the full story here.

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