The U.S.-Cuba talks on restoring direct postal service started in 2009 and seem to have gone nowhere fast. There were direct talks, exchanges of data, visits to Cuban postal facilities, etc. Two years later with no visible result, the Cuban side is giving its reason why: Cuba insists on reciprocal treatment, such as the reciprocal landing rights for mail delivery planes that are provided in International Postal Union conventions. The United States, Cuba says, won’t agree to Cuban planes landing here. So no agreement.
People in the United States and Cuba are long accustomed to poor, slow mail service, and have long turned to alternatives. So it’s not exactly a human tragedy that these talks have not prospered. In the year 2011 it even seems a little quaint, with everyone using e-mail, for there to be talks on direct mail service. Maybe they will resume and even succeed.
For now, the talks have shown that at least in this instance, Cuban officials mean what they say when they assert that they are willing to normalize relations with the United States, completely or bit by bit, as long as Cuba is treated as an equal. Until that matter is settled, the mail can wait, perhaps for decades more.