14 Jun 2015

Kenia Serrano: Cuba in the 21st Century

From Sunday Morning, 8:40 am on 14 June 2015

 Kenia Serrano

In December of last year the United States and Cuba started a historic thawing of relations.

The two countries brought the world close to nuclear armageddon in the 1960s when the Soviet Union stationed nuclear missiles on the island.

Relations have eased in more recent years and now Cuba and the US have agreed to release political prisoners while the United States is establishing an embassy in Havana.

The socialist republic ranks "very high" on the United Nation's human development index, with a world class healthcare and education system.

But concerns over repressive state control by the Cuban Communist Party and jailing of dissidents are still being raised by organisations like Human Rights Watch.

Wallace Chapman talks Kenia Serrano, a senior MP in the Cuban Parliament who is visiting New Zealand.

Kenia travels the world as the President of the Cuba Institute for Friendship with the Peoples, and has represented Cuba at the UN women's commission.