Cuba has suspended postal deliveries to the United States, its mail firm said on Friday.
Mail services across the 90 miles (144 km) of sea that separates the Caribbean island from the coast of Florida, where more than 1 million people of Cuban origin live, were suspended in 1963 following Cuba's communist revolution.
Talks between the government of U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuba's communist leadership led to the reinitiation of deliveries via third countries such as Mexico and Canada in 2009. Direct deliveries were under discussion.
"Until further notice Cuban post offices cannot keep accepting any type of mail for the United States," the Cuban postal company said in a statement read on state TV. It apologized to customers for the inconvenience.
The suspension follows a slowdown in services after the United States in November applied stricter anti-terrorism measures to mail deliveries from many countries including Cuba. At that time Washington requested parcels not be sent for one month.
As a result of the security measures, the Cuban postal company said, large numbers of letters and parcels have been refused entry into the United States and returned to Cuba via third countries' airlines. That has likely made the service more costly.
Last week, Washington announced it was easing rules restricting travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba but stopped short of allowing normal tourism to the island.
Under President Raul Castro, who took over from his brother Fidel in 2009, Cuba has freed dozens of political prisoners and begun modest reforms to revitalize the economy.
A five-decade U.S. trade embargo on Cuba is still mostly intact, but Obama has authorized more cash remittances to the island.
ReutersLast Mod: 22 Ocak 2011, 09:21