Cuba’s government has given its citizens the right to buy and sell their homes for the first time since the 1959 revolution. The long-awaited reform, published on Thursday in the government’s Official Gazette, is one one of the most substantial reforms introduced by Raul Castro, Cuba’s president, to liberalize the island’s Soviet-style command economy while maintaining the communist system.. Phil Peters, a Cuba expert at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Virginia, said the move could have broad ramifications for the Cuban economy, where the cash-strapped government is encouraging the growth of self-employment as it attempts to cut a million jobs from its bloated payrolls. “The ability to sell houses means instant capital formation for Cuban families. It becomes a source of capital at the grassroots level,” Peters said. “It is a big sign of the government letting go.” Al Jazeera’s Jesse Mesner-Hage reports.