14ymedio, Mercedes García, Sancti Spíritus 17 March 2021 — The means of transport used by Correos de Cuba (the Cuban Postal Service) for home deliveries is the bicycle. And not only to bring the press, parcels or correspondence, but also checks to pensioners. In Sancti Spíritus, at least 27,000 retirees, more than 70%, depend on this service to receive Social Security payments. Most couriers have to supply their own bicycle.
Neighborhoods like La Esperanza have spent years with the same postman, who is already like a member of the families, infallible in his deliveries. In contrast, the residents of the VientoNegro neighborhood have not enjoyed the same fate.
For starters, their postman was fired a few months ago for charging mandatory tips. “At the beginning, when he started, almost everyone who receives a check on a monthly basis gave him a five or ten peso tip out of gratitude,” a resident of Viento Negro tells this newspaper. “But then he made that a mandatory fine for everyone and people complained to the Post Office and they dumped him.”
At first, the new postman did not give any problems. However, the deliveries suddenly stopped coming. When Luis Alberto, a resident of Bartolomé Masó street, did not receive the press for several days, he went to the Post Office to ask. The answer seemed amazing: “They told me that the problem was that the postman who attends my area has a flat tire on his bike and that until that is fixed there are no deliveries.”
In addition, they made the excuse that “as it’s a new year, there must be a new contract,” and in addition there are “the new rates” because of the ‘Ordering Task*’. Luis Alberto appeared to renew his contract “and at least advance that process,” but it did little to help.
“To my surprise they gave me the same argument, that they cannot do it until the postman solves the flat tire problem,” he explains. “They say it takes a long time, because there are no tires anywhere.”
“And what happens if I have to receive parcels?” Well, they would notify him and he would have to go pick them up himself. Luis Alberto, disgusted, also complains about the poor state of the facilities in the Post Office: “They have a tremendous mess, no one can imagine its like inside, tremendously bad appearance, everything thrown every which way on the floor and one thing on top of another. Now I understand why many things are lost and do not reach their destination.”
Luis Alberto Laments that now the only option left for him to read the newspaper is to go to the post office on the boulevard in the morning, “Where there’s a lady who sits outside and sells them for three pesos,” he says, or to go outside the the amusement park (los caballitos), where there is also another reseller. Both in the city center, far from his home.
*Translator’s note: The [so-called] ‘Ordering Task’ [Tarea ordenamiento] is a collection of measures that includes eliminating the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), leaving the Cuban peso as the only national currency, raising prices, raising salaries and pensions (but not as much as prices), opening stores that take payment only in hard currency, which must be in the form of specially issued pre-paid debit cards, and others.
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