Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Cuba to Modernize Postal Services



As part of President Raúl Castro’s stated aim to “modernize” Cuba’s socialist economy, the Cuban government plans to slim down its postal service, Empresa Correos de Cuba (Cuban Mail Company–ECC) and make it a decentralized state-owned enterprise by the middle of 2012. According to the official business weekly Opciones, ECC “will shed the old mega structure that impedes its development and install more modern systems of management, the guarantee of efficiency and quality.”

The ECC will undergo many reforms regarding the services it provides, its payroll and its physical distribution operations. The postal company currently has 13,600 employees, 1,015 offices, 16 processing centers, and 54 distribution centers—“an antiquated mega structure that blocks its own development,” according to Opciones.

The new corporate model includes consolidating the structure into 18 territorial subsidiaries and creating specialized offices in courier services, currency exchange and insurance. Raúl Marcial Cortina, director of strategy for ECC, said decentralization is key to the restructuring, as each subsidiary will be “organizing and directing its own services in its own territory.” Although there are no official numbers on layoffs, an official from the company said cutbacks have already begun, and the postal administration within the Ministry of Communications and Informatics will be dissolved.

Restructuring the postal service is part of a larger initiative by the Cuban government to reduce the size of the state since Raúl Castro, Fidel’s brother, assumed the presidency in 2008.

In Cuba—a country with 11 million inhabitants—over 4 million people work for the state and only 600,000 for the private sector. In September 2010, the government announced that it would shed 500,000 public-sector jobs over six months and authorize 250,000 new businesses. In September of this year, it eliminated the Sugar Ministry and replaced it with the Grupo Empresarial de la Agroindustria Azucarera (AZCUBA), a business conglomerate of 13 provincial sugar companies and nine support service agencies, two research institutes and a training center.

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