HAVANA – The inaugural flight to reestablish direct mail service between Cuba and the United States arrived in Havana on Wednesday from Miami, Cuban state media said.
The IBC Airways plane landed in the Cuban capital about 10 a.m.
An inspector with the U.S. Postal Service, Carlos Rodriguez, delivered to the president of state-owned postal company Correos de Cuba, Asencio Valerino, a letter reestablishing mail exchange and a sample of the postal seal designed for the occasion.
“We’re making history,” said Rodriguez at the symbolic event, which was attended by officials from the island’s Civil Aeronautics Institute, the Cuban Foreign Ministry and the Cuban customs service.
Miami-Havana mail flights will operate three times per week carrying three tons of cargo on each trip starting on March 25, said Correos de Cuba vice president Zoraya Bravo Fuentes.
“With the resumption ... the (direct) message service between the two countries will cut the travel and delivery time and will be regular, as well as increasing security,” she said.
Mail service between the two countries was suspended in 1968 after a package bomb sent from New York in a postal shipment exploded at the Cuban Communications Ministry, the Cuban state news agency ACN reported.
For decades since that time, postal service between Cuba and the United States has continued via third countries and negotiations to re-initiate direct mail service began in 2009 but were interrupted for several years before being resumed in 2013.
Cuba and the United States agreed on Dec. 10, 2015, to reestablish direct mail service after 48 years within the framework of their ongoing diplomatic rapprochement.
The entry into force of the agreement takes place just before President Barack Obama’s March 20-22 visit to the island, the first by a sitting U.S. head of state in 88 years and a move that is expected to give a push to the process of normalizing relations.