Authorities in Cuba have decided to bring an end to a ban on the individual import of domestic appliances.
According to a report by the Guardian newspaper, a ban on items such as microwaves and air conditioners was introduced in 2005 during an energy crisis. Following power shortages and eventual blackouts, president Fidel Castro announced restrictions on the sale and import of domestic appliances in a bid to reduce pressure on the grid.
In 2011, current president Raul Castro introduced economic reforms which allowed for local sales of domestic appliances to resume, although the government has continued to stress the need for care to be taken to avoid placing excessive pressure on the nation's energy system.
Under the new rules, Cubans can bring two appliances into the country as long as they're for non-commercial purposes. The list of approved items includes toasters, irons, water heaters, microwaves under 2,000 watts, ovens under 1,500 watts and certain air conditioners.
At the end of last year, 3,000 Cubans living in a town to the southeast of Havana were given microwave ovens as part of a government programme.