HAVANA (AP) — Cuba made official what had been rumored for weeks: It is legalizing the sale of real estate and cars and expanding the ranks of private cooperatives that could serve as engines for the sputtering economy, among other major changes.


The Communist Party's newly released economic guidelines also say the government will study the possibility of letting Cubans travel abroad as tourists, a long-time promise of Cuba's leaders that has yet to be fulfilled.

But the guidelines give few specifics, meaning islanders will have to wait to see the fine print when the strategy is eventually translated into law by Cuba's National Assembly. The guidelines also establish a commission which is charged with implementing the changes.

The economic overhaul aims to pull Cuba out of a deep fiscal morass by enacting free-market reforms while preserving the Communist system ushered in by Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution. It was approved unanimously last month at a landmark Communist Party Congress, but the final document was not released until May 9.

The 313-point guidelines say the state ought to “establish the buying and selling of homes” by Cuban citizens. There is no mention of how the system will work, what restrictions will be imposed or what taxes might be levied — all crucial to judging the scope of the changes.

Previously, such details have been released once guidelines are enacted into law and published in the official government gazette.

The framework also says Cubans should be encouraged to form cooperatives which could function as mid-size companies with many employees, a key requirement of any vibrant economy. Currently, such entities only exist in the field of agriculture. The newly released version of the guidelines allows such employee-owned businesses to directly sell products to consumers or business owners, without the state operating as an intermediary.