HAVANA, Jan. 13th The government finalizes a Decree-Law that will maintain the expropriation of modern vehicles and those owned by emigrants and foreigners, who did not transfer them before leaving Cuba, according to a draft signed by Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, to which CiberCuba has had access.
Article 19.2. Exceptionally, the Minister of Transportation may deny for reasons of public utility or social interest, the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle that has been requested; in these cases he (…) he will order the loss of property rights over the motor vehicle in favor of the State.
This governmental power was already included in the previous regulation, which dates from 2013, in Decree 320:
ARTICLE 12.1.- The Minister of Transportation, when the claimant does not demonstrate the alleged right in accordance with the provisions of this Decree, denies the transfer of ownership of the motor vehicle.
2.- Exceptionally, the Minister of Transportation may deny for reasons of public utility or social interest, the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle that has been requested. In these cases, as in the case of the previous section, he will order the loss of the property right over the motor vehicle in favor of the State.
The draft lowers the state priority in favor of co-owners and heirs; unless they renounce it, but it reinforces their right of first refusal for vehicles that it classifies as a public utility or social interest and will confiscate those emigrant cars that have not been transferred before leaving Cuba.
The decree in preparation grants the Minister of Transportation optional power to transfer ownership of vehicles to family members and co-owners; a procedure similar to that which occurs with foreign entities that conclude their activity in Cuba, without having transferred the ownership of their cars, in which cases it will be considered that the assets have been abandoned.
Cuban legal sources consulted by CiberCuba prefer to “wait for the publication of the norm” to issue an assessment, but warned about the “tendency of the Cuban government to use this type of decree to favor the personal interests of leaders.”
The modality of “legislating Cuban-style” was reflected in a provision of the first General Housing Law, regulating the right to parking spaces in multi-family buildings, which was used by the then president of the National Housing Institute, Enrique Anavitarte to benefit a neighbor, they recalled.
One of the residents of an apartment building in front of the Víctor Hugo park, in El Vedado, where the leader lived, had an old dispute with neighbors about the use of a parking space and Anavitarte took advantage of the law to benefit his neighbor; with a standard tailored to him, they specified.
The draft does not specify which characteristics and/or requirements will be taken into account to declare a vehicle an object of social interest or public utility; that it will always be at the discretion of the Minister of Transportation, representing the State; establishing a wide margin of government discretion; unless it is corrected in the final version of the law.
In all cases, those affected may present a Reform Appeal before the Minister of Transportation; within a period of 30 business days, after the denial resolution and the official must respond to the claim within sixty business days, after the filing of the appeal. In case of ministerial ratification of the refusal to transfer the vehicle, the injured parties may go to court and file lawsuits.
In the case of imports, Cubans are limited to electric motorcycles and mopeds, their charging devices and trailers of up to 750 Kg of Tara and, if a citizen wants to have a modern car -as is already the case with foreigners from established firms- You have to buy it from the State, through established trading companies, at the prices and in the currencies set by the Ministry of Finance and Prices; or buy it from its original owner, as long as the government does not object to the operation.
The importation of vehicles in Cuba has been restricted since the mandate of the late ruler Fidel Castro; even for accredited foreign diplomats.
If an emigrant, or a permanently resident foreigner or owner of a home purchased from state real estate, did not take care to transfer the ownership of his vehicle, before leaving Cuba, the State will not recognize the right of his family members and/or heirs direct and will appropriate it, even when it is not modern, to proceed to its complete resale or by pieces; according to the case; although on this rule the optional exception of the Minister of Transportation is established to establish ownership, according to the order established in the articles of the draft.
Art. 13. The Minister of Transportation orders the loss of ownership rights over motor vehicles belonging to Cuban emigrants and who have not transferred the ownership rights over these assets before leaving the country.
Art. 14. The Minister of Transportation orders the loss of property rights over motor vehicles, belonging to permanent or temporary resident foreign citizens or real estate agents, who have lost this migratory status, without transferring the property right over these assets, before your departure from the country.
All transactions will be taxed by the Transfer of Assets and Inheritance and Personal Income taxes; whose calculation base is established on the referential value of the vehicle, according to its category and year of manufacture. But in the cases of cars sold by the State, the referential value to calculate the tax lien will be the price that appears on the purchase-sale invoice.
The current price list of the state CIMEX Corporation; subordinated to the GAESA military-financial-business complex, it sets vehicle sales prices, in a range that goes from $34,000 to $90,000.
While the Revolico portal, which reflects irregular market prices, indicates rates of up to 180,000 US dollars for a Mercedes Benz.
In the case of electric vehicles, they will be exempt from paying taxes, the government will not authorize their motoring with internal combustion engines and will promote their use during 2023, as announced by the Minister of Energy and Mines before the National Assembly.
Box with referential values that appears in the draft of the Decree-Law.
In the cases of authorization of transfers of ownership of the cars, the order of transfer of ownership of the property will be as follows: co-owners, spouses, children and other descendants, parents, grandparents and other ascendants, brothers and nephews, uncles, cousins and relatives up to the third degree of affinity. The relative of one degree excludes the next; except spouses and children who will enjoy the same right.
To put a car in their name, those interested must process the transfer before the Minister of Transportation; certifying marriage or kinship relationship with the original owner, official proof that the original owner no longer lives in Cuba, documentation proving ownership of the property to be transferred and certification of registration in the official vehicle registry.
Although the draft appears dated 2022, without specifying the day or month, it is likely that it will come out this year, because, contradictorily, followed by the annual figures, “Year 64 of the Revolution” appears, which is the current one and not the previous one. and will repeal decrees 320 (2013) and 3 (2020), establishing the legislation finalized by the Cuban government.