News and Facts about Cuba

Housing Regulations Maintain Restrictions for Cubans / Laritza Diversent

Regulations Maintain Restrictions for Cubans / Laritza Diversent
Laritza Diversent, Translator: Unstated

The housing regulations, recently enacted by the government of Cuba, and
which take effect on November 10, leave intact regulations that impede
the full exercise of the right of ownership.

As part of the implementation of the Guidelines adopted at the Sixth
Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in April, the State Council
issued Decree-Law 288 amending the "General Housing Law".

The new law allows homeowners – Cubans and foreigners permanently
residing in the country – to freely dispose of their homes, through
exchanges, gifts, and sales.

The directive of the State Council eliminated the requirement that
owners who decide to exchange or donate their property to first obtain
authorization from the Municipal Housing Department. But it left intact
the relocation rules for the capital and areas under special
administrative management, which impede the full exercise of property
In the Cuban legal system, Decree 217 is still in effect, which
establishes the "Immigration Regulations for the City of Havana,"
limiting both within the island and the right to
choose one's place of residence in it.

This decree requires people who have acquired (by inheritance, bequest,
gift, or purchase) a home located in the capital, to apply on behalf of
their family for a permit of residence and movement, to the presidents
of the municipal governments.

The state institutions require citizens who are not domiciled in the
capital, in order to accomplish any change of address in the capital, to
obtain an opinion issued by the Municipal Housing Directorate, attesting
compliance with the provisions of this rule. The same steps must be
taken by those who lease or trade their property.

On the island there are also areas designated as special, or of high
significance for , subject to special administrative oversight by
government mandate, in which a residence permit is required.

In 1995 The Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers declared as
"an area of ​​great importance for tourism" the municipality of Old
Havana in the capital, and in 1997 Varadero, in Matanzas. Residents, or
those seeking to settle in these areas, need permission to exchange,
lease or acquire ownership of a home, before applying to the Notary Public.

The to manage personal assets represents a step forward for the
rights of Cubans, but they will never be complete while the government
continues to ignore others of equal value and importance, such as
freedom of movement within the national territory, and the right to
choose one's place of residence.

16 November 2011

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