The latest drop of water splashing from the thaw of Cuba and America's icy relationship: mail service. The U.S. State Department announced today that for the first time in more than 50 years Cubans and Americans will be able to send mail to each other directly.
The decision was hammered out yesterday in a meeting right here in Miami. For years, mail could be sent between the two countries, but it would have to be routed through a third country.
The State Department's press release was particularly brief and included few details. Here it is in full:
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The United States and Cuba reached an understanding December 10 during discussions in Miami to re-establish direct postal services between the two countries through the implementation of a pilot plan for the transportation of mail. The plan will provide for mail flights between the two countries several times a week, rather than routing mail through a third country. Details will be finalized in the coming weeks.
The U.S. delegation was led by Lea Emerson, Executive Director for International Postal Affairs at the U.S. Postal Service, and the Cuban delegation was led by Cuban Ambassador to the United States Jose Ramon Cabanas Rodriguez.
The program is a long time coming. Discussion about reinstating mail service had been murmured about since Obama took office, but discussion stalled when Cuba imprisoned American Alan Gross. The Associated Press reported that talks had heated up again back in September, and, at the time, their source said the mail would be transported from Miami International Airport to Havana. Though, everyone involved says that the details are still being worked out.
It's obviously a small but important step to reestablishing full relations between the countries.