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Netflix launches in Cuba following US trade U-turn

Netflix has launched in Cuba, one of the first US firms to launch in the country after the recent loosening of U.S. trade restrictions.

Just 5% of Cubans have unfiltered access to the Internet, according to Freedom House, a watchdog group.

However, Netflix said that it expects a growing number of Cubans to be able to access its streaming video service "as Internet access improves and credit and debit cards become more widely available."

Netflix said its original series, such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are now available to Cubans. The firm’s Cuban programming will be similar to what it offers in other Latin American countries.

"We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world," said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, in a statement. "Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57 million members."

Netflix began offering its service in Latin America in 2011. It now has over 5 million members from the region.

Until now, Cubans have had little access to this kind of American entertainment. The U.S. government maintains a floating balloon tethered to an island in the Florida Keys that broadcasts the pro-democracy TV Marti network. The Cuban government constantly jams the signal.

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