MEXICO CITY — For the first time since the Communist revolution 52 years ago, Cubans will be allowed to buy and sell houses and newer automobiles, and they may be able to travel abroad as tourists more freely, under policy changes announced Monday that are intended to shake up the country’s foundering economy.

Cubans lined up at kiosks to pay the equivalent of 12 cents for booklets outlining 313 guidelines approved at a historic Communist Party congress last month.

The publication lacked many details on what restrictions, taxes and other potential roadblocks the initiatives might include, according to reporters in Havana who purchased it. It was not available online and details on how the changes will be carried out will probably not be known until Cuba’s legislature codifies them in the coming months.

But analysts said that simply bringing into the open what had been a black market of house and automobile swaps could be one of the most significant changes to the economy in decades and could inject badly needed cash into the system.

Many Cubans hardly ever move, and they often are stuck driving crumbling Soviet-era cars bought from state dealers. Individuals are permitted to sell cars made before the 1959 revolution, but only to another owner.

“These are very important steps,” said Arch Ritter, an economist at Carleton University in Ottawa who studies Cuba. “To have a housing market, for example, will be of tremendous importance to Cuban citizens, because there hasn’t been a market in 50 years. In Cuba, people are born in the same house they die in.”

Cuban expatriates in the United States have closely followed the changes, eyeing the potential to snap up real estate through relatives on the island, though it remains to be seen if the government will put brakes on foreign ownership or financing.

Many of these changes are already under way, announced in a number of speeches by President Raúl Castro over the past several months. In the speeches, Mr. Castro declared that Cuba, hit hard by the global recession, deteriorating sugar market and, the government says, repercussions of the United States’ economic embargo, must move from an almost entirely state-based economy toward one allowing at least a little more free enterprise.

Mr. Castro has vowed to maintain socialism while taking steps like expanding the ranks of the self-employed and increasing the leasing of state land for private farming, all subject to heavy taxation.

But the publication released Monday included new or seldom-discussed nuggets. One was an effort to promote formation of cooperatives that The Associated Press reported could function as midsize companies, selling products directly to consumers.

The document also said leaders should “study a policy that allows Cubans living in the country to travel abroad as tourists.” Tourist travel is already technically permitted, but an onerous, expensive bureaucratic process effectively halts all but select Castro loyalists from leaving.         



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