WASHINGTON - The political backstabbing of "House of Cards" and global adventures of "Marco Polo" are now available in communist-ruled Cuba, with the launch announced Monday by streaming US television giant Netflix.
Netflix said "a curated selection of popular movies and TV shows" would be available to the estimated one quarter of Cubans who have access to the Internet.
The move coincides with a thaw in US-Cuban relations following a decades-old embargo by Washington that limited trade between the two countries.
Although some US programs are shown on state-owned television, Netflix is likely to vastly expand the offerings available on the island where media and Internet are tightly controlled by the government.
Full details of the programming were not announced, but Netflix said it would offer Cubans its original series such as "House of Cards," about political intrigue in Washington and "Orange is the New Black" about life in a US prison, along with its new global series "Marco Polo."
In a statement, Netflix said the service is available "starting today," for "people in Cuba with Internet connections and access to international payment methods."
The Netflix website was already online in Cuba on Monday although it required an international credit card to open an account. Pricing was between $7.99 and $12 a month, depending on options.
"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 chief executive 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."