Several Cuban Airport Workers Arrested for Theft of Goods

Aerovaradero workers who, according to National Television, stole merchandise. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 22 December 2020 — Several Aerovaradero workers were arrested for an alleged crime of theft and misappropriation, according to Cuban Television, in a new episode within the government’s strategy of showing its “relentless fight against corruption.”

The detainees are part of the ground staff that handles cargo for Aerovaradero, a company specializing in national and international air cargo, and that belongs to the Cuban Civil Aviation Corporation. According to investigations, workers stole household appliances and clothing in collusion with Mercedes-Benz employees.

According to the authorities, the incident emerged from the complaints of the passengers and the affected state companies. The prosecutor in the case explained that those involved in the network marked the loads that were in the dispatch area and mixed them with the loads that they were actually going to declare.

“Then, taking advantage of the same work flow of the Mercedes-Benz company, which periodically loads its imports, they mixed them to be able to extract them from the airport areas,” he added.

The investigations detected the shortage in the loads and allowed them to recover a part. Among the items stolen were eight air conditioners, televisions, computers, minibars, music equipment and sports shoes for high-performance athletes.

Ariel Matos Fonseca, Aerovaradero’s brigade chief, told state television that they should be more vigilant in their jobs and “more combative towards people who are not doing the right thing.”

With the growing economic crisis, exacerbated by the measures taken by the covid pandemic, thefts of this type have multiplied in recent months. One of the most surprising cases was the operation that discovered, last November in Havana, the theft in a state warehouse of more than 200 tons of rice, hiding it with empty structures behind a facade of real sacks.

A few weeks earlier, in Cienfuegos, the authorities surprised three workers of the Provincial Meat Company stealing 380 kilos of “first-rate” pork, with the alleged objective of reselling it in the informal market.

Other cases occurred, for example, in September, with the theft of two tons of coffee beans in Santiago de Cuba, and in June, with the seizure of an “illegal” shipment of more than 180 bags of onions in Ciego de Ávila.

The dismantling, in September, of a network of exchange office employees and illegal sellers who were engaged in the sale of foreign currency for the acquisition of household appliances was also sounded .

The recurring robberies in Correos de Cuba, denounced by numerous users on social networks, caused the state-owned company to be fed up, which issued a statement a few days ago describing the accusations as “unfair and uncertain.”

Post office workers, says the company, “are, as a rule, honest, humble, hardworking people, dedicated to the work of serving the people and with a high sense of belonging to their organization,” and when events have occurred criminal offenses, “are rigorously investigated, the necessary measures are adopted to prevent their recurrence, disciplinary and administrative measures are applied to those responsible and, when appropriate, they are placed at the disposal of the police and judicial authorities.”


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