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Cuba's little capitalists venture into a budding economy

Desmond Boylan / Reuters

Customers are entertained as they dine inside the newly licensed restaurant "El Bedouino" in Havana on April 1. The restaurant is an example of how life is changing in Cuba since President Raul Castro launched a string of limited economic reforms, legalizing certain kinds of businesses, including restaurants, hostels and street vendors.

Enrique De La Osa / Reuters

Women sell clothes they made to pedestrians along a street in Havana on March 24.

Desmond Boylan / Reuters

A woman pays a man with a private licence to sell goods at a stall in Havana on Feb. 29.

Reuters reports -- After his ailing older brother, Fidel, stepped down as president four years ago, Raul Castro began to encourage self-employment. He initiated changes in sectors previously restricted to the state or which had operated illegally in Cuba's vast black market.

He has given Cubans the right, with some restrictions, to buy and sell homes and cars for the first time since the early days of the 1959 revolution, led by Fidel.

Would-be farmers can lease land from the government. New small entrepreneurs are being allowed to enter into contracts with state companies and local governments.

As a result, more Cubans are setting up their own businesses as the cash-strapped government moves to cut spending and boost tax revenue.

Read the full story.

Desmond Boylan / Reuters

A car with a "for sale" sign is seen on a street in Havana on Feb. 29. Unseen in the past, cars for sale are an example of how life is changing in Cuba since President Raul Castro launched a string of limited economic reforms, legalizing certain kinds of businesses, including restaurants, hostels and street vendors.

Enrique De La Osa / Reuters

Leather craftsman Arle Toro (right) tries to sell a hat to a pedestrian along a street in Havana on March 24.

Desmond Boylan / Reuters

A woman walks past an apartment with a "for sale" sign in Santiago de Cuba March 25, 2012. Unseen in the past, home sales are an example of how life is changing in Cuba since President Raul Castro launched a string of limited economic reforms, legalizing certain kinds of businesses, including restaurants, hostels and street vendors.