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Cuba lifts ban on DVD and computer sales

Cuba's new President Raul Castro has lifted the ban on the sale of a large number of electrical appliances. Soon Cubans will be able to legally buy DVD players, computers, video machines and wide screen tellys.

The revolution under Fidel Castro wasn't televised. The former president of the Caribbean island was a staunch critic of capitalist consumer culture, viewing electronic appliances as a waste of the country's limited energy supplies.

But according to a memo leaked to Reuters, things are set to change under Raul. "Based on the improved availability of electricity, the government at the highest level has approved the sale of some equipment which was prohibited."

Cuba banned the sale of a large number of electric goods in the 1990s following the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The collapse of the USSR deprived Cuba of billions of precious oil supplies and economic subsidies leading to an energy crisis and daily blackouts. These problems have since been resolved thanks to Cuba's oil rich ally Venezuela.

Up until now only foreigners and a small number of companies had been able to legally own computers in Cuba. Although the move seems positive for consumers, it is not clear if restrictions will be eased on internet access and communication devices such as mobile phones.

Sadly Cubans will still have to eat back alley PopTarts if they want to partake in a capitalist breakfast, as toasters won't be openly available until 2010.




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