Cuba and the U.S. officially resumed direct postal services with the arrival of an inaugural flight from the U.S. city of Miami to Havana’s José Martí International Airport, yesterday, March 16.
Shortly after 10.00 a.m., the IBC Airways SAAB 340 aircraft transporting the first postal shipment, arrived at the Aerovaradero terminal, where it was received by a delegation of Cuban authorities, led by Carlos Asencio Alerino, president of the Correos de Cuba Business Group, as well as officials from the Civil Aviation Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and General Customs of the Republic of Cuba.
In a symbolic gesture, Carlos Rodríguez, a U.S. postal service inspector, presented a letter to the Co rreos de Cuba president, to mark the resumption of direct mail services between the two countries, as well as a selection of stamps designed for the occasion, stating that: “We are making history.”
Speaking exclusively to the Cuban News Agency (ACN), Zoraya Bravo Fuentes, first vice president of the Co rreos de Cuba Group, stated that as of March 25, flights will operate three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – departing from Miami, Florida.
Bravo highlighted that the resumption of direct postal services between the two countries will establish a regular service and reduce shipment and delivery times, while also ensuring safety, an issue prioritized in the agreement between the two countries given the fact that postal services were suspended in 1968 after a parcel bomb sent from New York in a postal shipment exploded at the Cuban Communications Ministry.
The Correos de Cuba representative noted that a second exchange bureau has been opened in Havana, to deal exclusively with postal services originating from and destined for the United States, supported by modern technology capable of processing up to five tons of post every 12 hours.
The reestablishment of direct postal services will mean faster deliveries – shipments were previously sent via third countries – a reduction in operation costs and allow Cuban and U.S. citizens to send letters and parcels of up to 10kg between the two countries, in accordance with established prices, Bravo added.
After six and a half years of negotiations, on December 10, 2015, Cuba and the United States agreed to resume direct portal services through a pilot plan.
Both countries have signed the Universal Postal Union Convention committing to offering all citizens a quality, affordable service.
After finalizing technical, operational and security details, Correos de Cuba’s Courier Service and Exchange Bureau contracted IBC Airways to transport the postal shipments.
The first flight to resume direct postal services between the two nations marks an end to decades of mistrust and demonstrates the willingness of both countries to develop a different kind of relationship.