"I almost feel rich!" says Yeni, 26, speaking from her dilapidated two-bedroom apartment in Havana's Vedado district. Her surroundings are not those of a wealthy woman. The home she shares with an infant cousin and two aunts was built in the 1940s. It has no hot water and has not been renovated in 70 years – but it is hers. And from Thursday she will be able to sell it.
Shortly after the Cuban revolution brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959, all homes effectively became the property of the state. Cubans who remained on the island were given the right to live in the homes they occupied and pass them on to friends or relatives. They were also permitted to swap houses. However, selling or buying was prohibited.
All that changed last week, when the Cuban government announced – with significant understatement – an "amendment" to the existing property law. What it amounts to is the creation of a legal property market and the most significant loosening of the state's dominance of Cubans' lives since the revolution.
How's that Communism working for ya?