from the pigs-flying-in-a-bay dept.
Peter Baker reports at the NYT that in a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century. In addition, the United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking relations, and Cuba will release 53 Cuban prisoners identified as political prisoners by the United States government.
Although the decades-old American embargo on Cuba will remain in place for now, the administration signaled that it would welcome a move by Congress to ease or lift it should lawmakers choose to. “We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse.
We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state,” said the White House in a written statement. "The United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people."
Netflix to Cuba: Bienvenida, Cuba!
Netflix is coming to Cuba. Despite only 26% of Cubans having access to an internet connection, and a slow connection at that, Netflix is trying to secure the first mover advantage in an opening market.
Netflix launches in Cuba
In a press release, Netflix has just announced that they will be offering streaming service in Cuba, as diplomatic relations between the island country and the United States thaw.
Starting today, people in Cuba with Internet connections and access to international payment methods will be able to subscribe to Netflix and instantly watch a curated selection of popular movies and TV shows.
“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 co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. “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.”
This comes after the United States announced a resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba, and subsequently an easing of the trade embargo that has been in place since 1962. The Internet in Cuba however is still very tightly controlled, and it seems few people there have the required connectivity to be able to use Netflix effectively.