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Dish launches Cuban entertainment channel for US audiences

Cubamax TV makes its debut on Dish, bringing to the US for the first time some of Cuba's most popular movies and TV shows. It will also make its way to Sling TV.

Programming includes "Vivir del cuento," a popular TV show featuring Pánfilo, an 80-year-old trying to navigate life in Cuba.

Screenshot by Laura Martínez/CNET

Cuban immigrants in the US will soon be able to see some of their favorite movies and television shows.

Satellite TV provider Dish today announced the launch of Cubamax TV, a Cuban culture and entertainment channel featuring novelas, movies, variety shows, children's programming and music videos. The channel is available today on DishLatino, the company's suite of English and Spanish-language programming packages, and will be coming to Sling TV in the following weeks.

The addition of Cubamax TV comes as the White House pushes to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba and open the country up to commercial travel from the US for the first time in 50 years.

"Today marks an important milestone as we deliver movies and TV shows from Cuba that were previously unavailable," said Alfredo Rodriguez, vice president of DishLatino.

An independent company headquartered in Miami, Cubamax TV imports, curates and packages Cuban entertainment into one channel for distribution in the US. The agreement with Dish makes it the first -- and only -- pay-TV provider to bring original Cuban entertainment to US audiences nationwide.

Among the shows to air on Cubamax TV is "Vivir del Cuento," one of Cuba's most popular TV shows featuring comedian Luis Silva as the 80-year-old character Pánfilo, who tries to navigate the realities of life in Cuba. The show recently gained additional notoriety when President Obama appeared in a sketch with Pánfilo shortly before his trip to Cuba.

Starting Thursday Cubamax TV is available to new and existing DishLatino customers who subscribe to the following programming packages: Clasico, Plus, Dos, Max and Bonus Pack. The channel will also be available on Sling TV, although a Dish spokesperson declined to give an specific date.

Below, a sketch provided by the US Embassy in Cuba featuring Luis Silva (aka Pánfilo) talking in the phone with President Obama.