Cuba has instituted two important market reforms. One new law allows increased foreign ownership of land, while the other allows citizens to grow and sell their own farm produce:
The decree allowing expanded sale of farm products, meanwhile, could have far greater impact on ordinary Cubans. It authorizes them to produce their own agricultural goods — from melons to milk — and sell them from home or in kiosks. They must pay taxes on any earnings.
The decree is the first major expansion of self-employment rules since Castro said in an address before parliament Aug. 1 that the government would reduce state controls on small businesses — a big deal in a country where about 95 percent of people work for the state.
[Dissident economist Oscar Espinosa] Chepe, who was jailed for his political beliefs in 2003 but later paroled for health reasons, said the decree would stamp out inefficiencies that plague the state farming system, calling it an "intelligent move."
"In Cuba, the problem has not only been production, but also distribution," he said.
Cubans already sell fruits, pork, cheese and other items on the sides of highways, fleeing into the bushes when the police happen past. Friday's measure would legalize such practices, while ensuring the state takes a cut of the profits.
The foreign-ownership law is expected to increase the number of golf courses in the Workers' Paradise. People's golf courses, we can only hope.