Cuba lifting restriction on purchase of cars from the state

Cuba says it's opening its automobile market by eliminating a special permit that strictly limited the number of people allowed to buy vehicles from the state.

The government has a monopoly on the sale of imported new and used vehicles, and has required any potential buyer to obtain a special card from the Transport Ministry authorizing the purchase of a car. The cards took months or years to obtain, creating a black market in cards in which holders would often sell them for more than the price of the car itself.

In addition, the government slowed the issue of new cards to a trickle in recent months.

Official media said Thursday that the card was being eliminated in favor of new regulations, which would be made public in coming days.