Isolation has become the keyword in Venezuela: the heavy debt owed by the government to foreign companies, from airlines to credit card companies and any number of service providers are causing serious problems to both the country’s economy and its reputation.
The telecom sector is no different, as national postal service Ipostel has put on hold all deliveries abroad until further notice. The thing is that those deliveries were limited only to major markets like the U.S., Colombia or Spain in the first place. Sources quoted by El Universal said that all deliveries to 29 other countries have been suspended since February 7th.
The official excuse is that an “excess of dispatches” has collapsed Ipostel’s distribution centers and the service will be resumed soon. It might take some time to clear out the undelivered backlog that has built up since last December. All 25 tons of it. Other versions put the blame on the large ongoing debt with international airlines.
But this brief announcement was just the breaking point for Ipostel’s workers, who have now declared themselves on strike. They want the postal service to be “intervened” and the full removal of the current board. They also demand the discussion of their collective bargaining agreement, which expired 22 years ago. Or isn’t that twenty-three?
A basketcase in the best of time, Maduro-era Ipostel is a proper disaster. It has no offices at all operating in at least fifteen of Venezuela’s 24 states. Ipostel staff denounce deplorable working conditions, the decline of basic services, financial mismanagement and the loss of major clients. Both active and retired workers complain that the current president Carlos Joa Vásquez is “destroying the postal service”, but the government has refused to sack him or the board.
Almost two years ago, I wrote about Ipostel’s alleged “relaunch” and how the agency needed to reevaluate its purpose. Now we know than that effort went nowhere and the overall situation is worse. Ipostel’s fate is tied up more than ever with the actual state of the economy, so any chance of starting over or a serious reorganization is likely on stand-by.