Friday, September 18, 2009

Everybody's talking, everybody's happy

That seems to be the feeling after the talks on re-establishing postal service that took place in Havana yesterday.

From the State Department spokesman:

Question: Can you provide us an update on the direct mail talks in Havana?

Answer: We were pleased with our initial discussions yesterday on the establishment of direct mail service between the United States and Cuba. The United States considers this first round of talks to have been positive. During the course of the one-day meeting, a variety of issues related to the transportation, quality, and security of mail service between our countries were discussed. The Cuban delegation also offered the U.S. delegation an opportunity to tour a Cuban mail processing center and post office, and the U.S. delegation has offered to reciprocate the tour with a visit to an international processing center in the United States. Both sides agreed that, after consultation in their respective capitals on the issues raised, they would meet again. Establishing direct mail service between our two countries supports President Obama’s goals, as announced April 13, of bridging the gap among divided Cuban families and promoting the free flow of information to the Cuban people. We will be reviewing the results of our discussions to determine how best to move forward on this issue.

And a statement from the Cuban delegation:

El 17 de septiembre de 2009, se iniciaron las conversaciones entre representantes de Cuba y los Estados Unidos para normalizar el servicio de correo postal entre ambos países. La delegación cubana estuvo presidida por Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, directora de América del Norte del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y la delegación de los Estados Unidos fue encabezada por Bisa Williams, subsecretaria asistente interina para Asuntos del Hemisferio Occidental del Departamento de Estado.

Durante las conversaciones, Cuba trasladó a la parte norteamericana su evaluación de la situación actual del servicio postal universal entre Cuba y los Estados Unidos y presentó propuestas de solución a las dificultades existentes en esta área. La delegación cubana también abordó los temas que deben tenerse en cuenta para el restablecimiento del correo postal directo entre los dos países, incluyendo la transportación del correo, la seguridad postal y los métodos de pago por ese servicio.

La jefa de la delegación cubana declaró:… “Estamos satisfechos con el desarrollo de esta primera reunión, que permitió examinar los temas que dificultan la normalización del intercambio postal entre Cuba y los Estados Unidos, y valorar un conjunto de propuestas específicas dirigidas a superar estos obstáculos”. Calificó de amplio y útil el intercambio sostenido entre los funcionarios de las administraciones postales de Cuba y los Estados Unidos, dirigido a identificar las áreas en que se deberá trabajar para adoptar acuerdos bilaterales en materia de servicio postal.

En las conversaciones, la delegación cubana enfatizó, en particular, la importancia de eliminar las restricciones discriminatorias derivadas de la política de bloqueo de los Estados Unidos hacia Cuba, que permitan el restablecimiento del servicio de correo postal directo entre los dos países, sobre la base de los principios y normas establecidos por la Unión Postal Universal de la cual ambos Estados son miembros.

Ambas delegaciones coincidieron en la necesidad de dar continuidad a las conversaciones en los próximos meses.

La delegación cubana estuvo integrada además por Silvia Munárriz Mon, viceministra de la Informática y las Comunicaciones; y Eliecer Blanco Prieto, presidente de la Empresa de Correos de Cuba; entre otros funcionarios.

So far, so good, I guess.

But I wonder what the Cubans mean by “the importance of eliminating discriminatory restrictions derived from the embargo policy of the United States toward Cuba…based on the principles and norms established by the Universal Postal Union, of which both States are members.” Does that mean that Cuba is assuming some kind of restriction on payments? Or on the arrival of Cuban planes carrying mail to the United States?


leftside said...

But I wonder what the Cubans mean by “the importance of eliminating discriminatory restrictions derived from the embargo policy of the United States toward Cuba...

I think they are just referring to the current US policy.

Anonymous said...

Leftside is right. The Cuban government always try to bring up the embargo in all direct negotiations. Hopefully this set of talks will bring forth normal mail links.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the members of the US delegation were served complimentary mojitos while they were given the typical speech about the evils of US imperialism ;-)

Seriously, though, I really do believe this is a great, if symbolic, step between normalization of relations.

Keep up the good work, Obama administration! (And yes I mean that)

Anonymous said...

He just betrayed the Poles and the Czechs, why not toss the Cuban people in there too?


Anonymous said...

oye chingon pidgen, leave it to you to make a negative comment on something that any normal person would see as positive.
what is it that scares you so much that even something like this, for god sake, just getting mail going between the two countries, is seen a betrayal to the cuban people. HOW?? It is just a horrible situation for you to realize one step closer to normal relations, and then legitimacy not only in Cuba, where it has been for 50 years, but in US as well. And that just has you sh..tting in your pants. doesn't it...
and you wonder why you gusanos just have no, absolutely no, cred to anyone with any sense of rationality.
even vecino is for it, so it seems, and yes it is a consistent that the cuban side always brings up the embargo, tiresome but necessary
but at least it's a good step, mail between the two countries since when, what year did it shut down?

Anonymous said...

"at least it's a good step, mail between the two countries since when, what year did it shut down?"

This is a misunderstanding. Mail service has always existed between the two countries. But since Castro took over, the mail in each direction has been channeled through third countries.

Anonymous said...

yes, sorry; when did direct mail shut down, assume it was after US shut down direct flights to cuba after missle crisis

Anonymous said...

You pathetic selfish wretch, you're so content to let the Cuban people wallow in misery so long as it allows you to pleasure yourself to some long ago historical grievance that you were never even a part of. Do you really believe the Cuban people care about what happened in 1898??? What they want is no different than anyone else living in 2009: the freedom to make choices on how they want to live their lives and build a better future for their children. Unfortunately, that day will only continue to be prolonged because of the likes of you, who defend and apologize for a criminal regime but wouldn't be caught dead living there. You're a disgrace to humanity.


Anonymous said...

I believe direct mail was halted in 1963 as part of the tightening of the US embargo.

From my personal experience, getting anything to Cuba is a tremendous headache. I'm not even that interested into who's fault it is, to be honest. It just seems pretty ridiculous that in 2009 two countries 90 miles away from each other don't have direct mail service. It just can't benefit anyone except those who profit--politically, financially, or otherwise--on maintaining the current cold war mindset that refuses to build relations between the people in both countries.

This is a perfect example of a change that I can only see helping the Cuban people. I understand that many people who comment here have axes to grind, but I would implore all of us here to consider how truly important it is to average Cubans to improve relations between the two countries.

Travel, phone/mail/electronic communication, all of these types of interactions take place every day between Cuba and the US, and those who seek to penalize these interactions are either tragically misguided or filled with dangerous and counterproductive ill will.

If you don't want to interact with Cuba fine, but let the Cubans I know enjoy the simple pleasures of a phone call, letter, or package to be sent without draconian, cold war restrictions getting in the way.

PS it seems like if you're trying to get rid of the castros, this wouldn't be a negative thing.

Anonymous said...

This is the only source where I can get some decent info. Thanks Phil!

Anonymous said...

chingon please stop the crap. your lies just keep getting more and more ridiculous. it is simply NOT true what you try and portray cuba to be and your extremism does absolutely nothing to help your position.

if you are against direct mail it only shows how far from reality you are. and the constant viscous name calling really just adds to your perception of a sorry, bitter old fart. the more things seem to be moving in the right direction the more you scream and throw invectives. you are the gusano poster boy for why your extremism has no impact in these discussions anymore. if you had any sense of proportion then maybe you could be taken seriously.
and the only comeback you seem to have is that no one knows your suffering, that Cuba is such a terrible place it gives you the right to continue to harm the cuban people and call anyone who disagrees with you "a disgrace to humanity" Yeah, right.

you are simply a pidgen.

Anonymous said...

"Travel, phone/mail/electronic communication, all of these types of interactions take place every day between Cuba and the US..."

Yes, that's right. Those shameless imperialists do all in their power to disrupt these normal activities!

It is all the Empire's fault that the few Cubans allowed to travel abroad have to pay the equivalent of several years income to obtain the "papelitos."

And who can begrudge the Revolutionary Authorities for imposing the world's highest fees on international phone calls? Don't the Imperialists have ANY compassion for Cuba's urgent humanitarian needs, such as the Coma Andante's Personal Caviar Fund?

And now, believe it or not, those same imperialistas have the gall to claim that they are removing any and all restrictions to Internet and satellite TV access for Cubans, as if the Revolutionary Authorities WANT to keep the Revolutionary Masses isolated!

Thank goodness the imperialists have failed in their effort to sabotage the Juanes concert for Peace! Too bad Dean Reed is not living at this hour to participate in this triumph of the Revolutionary Peace Offensive. Revolution.

Anonymous said...

"Thank goodness the imperialists have failed in their effort to sabotage the Juanes concert for Peace!"

Exactly right. Now the only worry is that a few infiltrators like that Amaury character will try to dirty the the goals of the Peace Concert by whining about alleged "human rights violations" in, of all places, the First Free Territory of the Americas!

And Leftside is correct in saying that a drunk like Panfilo would be sentenced to 2 years in prison in any other country, too. Don't the imperialists IMMEDIATELY do this to campesinos yanquis when they complain of being hungry? Fair is fair!

Just to be on the safe side, I think they should take that Amaury character to Villa Marista for some "attitude adjustment," just as they did to that gusano whiner Panfilo.

Anonymous said...

Just to demonstrate the seriousness and eminent good sense of the Juanes concert, everyone attends, especially the legions of Western journalists covering this triumph, should be named an honorary graduate of the Che Guevara Peace Academy.