14ymedio, Havana, April 23, 2021 — In an unusual move, Correos de Cuba, the state-owned company in charge of the nation’s postal service, acknowledged the theft of contents from customers’ packages. In a statement released on Thursday, it apologized to those who had been affected and said they would be “compensated in accordance with current regulations.”
The company’s announcement resulted from a complaint by Juaquina Nieves Muiño, who sent a package a month earlier from the Canary Islands in Spain to San Luis, a town in Santiago de Cuba province, which went viral on independent media. The package arrived at its destination but without some of its original contents. The missing items had been replaced with rocks and bricks.
“We offer our sincere apologies to the Correos de Cuba customers who have been affected by these isolated and uncommon incidents in our postal operations,” the company said in its statement.
Correos de Cuba confirmed that in recent days there have been more than ten such incidents, a situation which it described as “very serious” while also categorizing them as “uncommon and infrequent.”
In an attempt to reassure customers, the company claimed that “unfortunate and isolated incidents such as these will never go unpunished.” The thefts are being investigated by the Interior Ministry, it said, “in order to identify those responsible” and to apply “all disciplinary, administrative and legal measures that are appropriate.”
In December Correos de Cuba said it was the victim of a media campaign orchestrated and financed by the United States against the Cuban government and its institutions.
After accusations appeared on social networks accusing postal workers of taking advantage of their positions by opening packages sent from overseas, the company responded, saying these complaints do not reflect “reality or comment made by the vast majority of customers.”
“To say that those of us who work at Correos de Cuba are thieves, criminals and opportunists is totally unfair and untrue,” it noted.
The company referred to the thirty-two claims it received in 2020 for theft and change of content of some packaged shipments, pointing out that this represented “0.03% of the hundreds of tons and millions of shipments received, processed, transported and delivered, a record number.”
The tone of Thursday’s announcement was quite different, however. Rather than alluding to campaigns directed against it, the company invited customers who had experienced similar incidents, or who wished to express their opinions, to do so on the postal service’s website or Facebook page, a way to discourage victims from having their complaints aired on independent media.
Last week the government approved a regulation that includes “compensation for the loss, disruption or theft of postal items but only if it can be shown that postal workers are responsible. According to the regulation, shipments from abroad are the responsibility of Correos de Cuba “as soon as they enter the country for delivery or are in transit at any of its postal centers.”
Compensation for damages in such cases is set at 960 pesos for a package sent from abroad, plus 540 pesos per kilo, plus the delivery or pickup fee.
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