Receiving an Important Package in Cuba
obstacles in our path
HAVANA TIMES – The insensitivity, incompetence and ineffectiveness of most Cuban state institutions make ordinary Cubans’ lives more miserable, painful and unbearable.
Ines lives with her 97-year-old father, who has had a kidney transplant, and is also diabetic and has high blood pressure, so he needs medicines that just can’t be found here in Cuba today. Faced with this harsh reality, she found herself forced to ask for help.
Ines has an uncle living in Panama City, who promised to send her the medicines her father needed for his diabetes and high blood pressure, a package which he sent in early January this year.
After four months, and after receiving confirmation from her uncle that this medicine had already reached Cuban soil, she went to the post office many times, and was given the same response: it still hasn’t arrived.
Faced with the pressing need to receive what was already becoming an emergency, she decided to post her story on social media, and within 24 hours, the manager of the post office had gotten in touch with her to tell her that her delivery had been there since April and that she could come in the next day to pick it up.
She went to the post office on Vento and Camaguey Streets, in Havana’s Cerro neighborhood, where she had to wait three hours because the managers were having a meeting, and she finally received the valuable package, after paying 100 pesos.
Life has become a real battle here, as the obstacles placed in our path by bureaucracy, indifference and a lack of empathy are a challenge that we have to jump over every day.
2 thoughts on “Receiving an Important Package in Cuba”
One can only empathize with Ines’s unfortunate experience. I am sure this negligent bureaucratic faux pas is experienced countless times by the majority of Cuban citizens who are not “connected” to the right people or have access to social media to help expedite troublesome circumstances.
Ammi’s example highlights exactly what Benjamin wrote a few weeks back in his article in HT entitled “Cuban Workers Lack Motivation”. Ines did all the right things in trying to track her valuable package. Ines went to the post office (state owned and operated) to find out her package’s status and what exactly did she have to endure?
She had to bear exactly what countless other Cuban citizens have to put up with: “… she had to wait three hours because the managers were having a meeting,…” I am sure Ines dutifully explained to the postal government employee numerous times in her postal visits the critical importance of her medicine laden package, whereby the package literally means life and death for Ines’ 97-year-old father.
The government employee, I am sure a conscious person when not in his/her post office role, needs to be embolden to the state’s bureaucratic rules and regulations and thus it is very easy to say to all package delayed patrons: “it still hasn’t arrived.” That curt response, even if it isn’t true as in this case, is nice and easy, fast, dismissive, and all in a days work for countless unmotivated government workers who choose to be as dogmatic and bureaucratic as the state requires so that they can keep their jobs in order to feed their families.
Cuban government managers absolutely must have very lengthy “meetings” while on duty supposedly helping clients and patrons, but those clients and patrons need to wait, and wait, and wait as long as necessary, in this case three hours, as critical bureaucratic decision making is taking place and no ordinary Cuban with some perceived “issue “ (may be life and death as in this case) can disturb the weighty wheels of communist bureaucratic meetings in the making.
In the meanwhile, as Ammi so eloquently writes: “ The insensitivity, incompetence and ineffectiveness of most Cuban state institutions make ordinary Cubans’ lives more miserable, painful and unbearable.” Every reader can sympathize with Ammi’s descriptive narrative.
The proverbial s*** hit the fan, though, when Ines went to social media (nice, expedient move – good for her) and posted her negative experience causing the government managers to quickly cancel and perhaps re-evaluate their three hour meetings and to take speed action to ensure the reputation of the communist state is not tattered and so poured proverbial water on a potential fire that could have gotten out of control and burned the post office’s reputation.
Voila – within 24 hours – the package miraculously appears in the hands of a government manager who expeditiously, and if s/he had any conscious embarrassed, gave the package to Ines. Thank God for her the situation ended positively.
Social media is one medium that now many Cubans have at their disposal and as Ammi has written can be used as a tool to at least make a dent in the inefficiency, the indifference, the obstacles that the majority of Cubans needlessly encounter and must endure on a daily basis.
I sent a parcel December 23, 2020 and it finally to its destination arrived in April 2021. It sat in Havana all that time!
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