updated 01:05 pm EDT, Thu March 13, 2008
Cuba lifts electronics ban
The new president of Cuba, Raul Castro, has formally lifted a ban on the sale of computers and other consumer electronics such as DVD players, say reports. "Based on the improved availability of electricity, the government at the highest level has approved the sale of some equipment which was prohibited," reads an internal government memo obtained by Reuters. Car alarms, microwaves, and rice and pressure cookers are among the other devices Cubans can now buy; TV sizes have expanded to include 19- and 24-inch models.
Under the decades-long dictatorship of Castro's brother, Fidel, many amenities were banned for being either decadent or wasteful. Since first assuming leadership last year, however, Raul has gradually opened up restrictions, for instance those on car parts and general electronics. "The country's priority will be to meet the basic needs of the population, both material and spiritual," Raul has said.