Monday, August 15, 2011

Making mail run on time

Mail in Venezuela has always been bad but in the last couple of years it has gone from bad to useless.  I cannot tell you how many problems I have had with some people outside of Venezuela that cannot understand why a letter will take at the very least a month to reach me.  But today was just too much...  I went to my POBox to check it out after a week absence.  And there were 5, FIVE, issues of Scientific American.  FIVE fucking issues arrived at once! For a monthly magazine!

You could tell me "Daniel, get the online subscriptions and get over it" and I will reply that my Internet has got to be wireless where I live for a variety of reasons and that it keeps crashing all the time, that I cannot use it between 5 PM and 9 PM, and that once I am done with mail and blog matters I have no stomach to deal with that shit further.....  IPad is of course out of question where I live since I will pay a bunch for a dedicated cel phone line which will be temperamental in the best of times.

Why oh why?  Because chavismo has absolutely no interest in people being informed and if it were for chavismo alone, Internet would be like in Cuba, reserved for bureaucrats.

In San Felipe today I cannot have decent Internet, I cannot receive mail on time, I depend on satellite TV for my news because there is only neutered or pro chavista TV, I stopped listening to radio a long time ago as it is either bland, chavista or salsa; and forget about local papers who are adept at self censoring and propaganda.

In Venezuela today, if you are not in a major urban area, you really need to go out of your way to remain informed, to escape chavismo propaganda.

In Mussolini days trains at least run on time, or so the legend goes.  The mess of chavista Venezuela will remain legendary, I can assure you that much.  You know what? Venezuela might become the first mail free country and not because of Internet.....


  1. I can confirm the uselessness of Ipostel.

    I was out of the country a couple of years ago, so I sent some postcards to some of my relatives.

    3 months after I return to Venezuela, some of the postcards arrived to their destinations. SOME, NOT ALL.

    True story, only possible in Venezuela.

    Thy irony of the Mussolini reference is that Venezuela has no national train service, so we're pretty screwed to say the least.

  2. Charly1:35 AM

    Earliest time to get a letter from overseas where I live is about 2 months, sometimes never. Ipostel sounds like impostors to me.

  3. Also registered mail doesn't arrive the only way is by DHL of Federal Express takes 10 days from Europe

  4. A Christmas card mailed from Caracas on December 10, 2010 reached us in Virginia this past June. Burro Express?

  5. I stop sending any mail at all some years ago, when my letters, usually cards with photos, arrived opened or damaged, usually about two or three months after sending them.
    Someone told me that If I wrote "it doesn't contain money" on the envelope, it will at least arrive closed. I refused to do that. I won't use a system that is abuive and non reliale.
    Now, all that about ipostel, but what I feel is more important about your posting is the fact that the only thing that is reaching small towns is the chavista wonder.

  6. "abusive and non relialable" I meant.

  7. On the bright side, you can say the postman doesn't ring at all in Venezuela!

    Mail used to be delivered to the home, believe it or not, by mailmen riding three wheeled Harley Davidsons.

    It would be nice to have mail delivered to the home, once again, and actually provide jobs. But that is asking too much, I guess.

  8. So have you read the SAs yet? You think that new guy Gardner will last?

  9. roberto n

    in venezuela it is nearly impossible to have even a reasonable home delivery. there are no numbers on the houses and usually no street names either. it is one of the greatest mysteries of venezuelan history: how come no government has never been able to do a real street numbering. that is why most people that do receive regularly some for of mail have a POBox. you may get it very late like me but you have a good chance at getting it at least.

  10. Before Chávez I once sent a postcard from Chacaíto to my home in Valencia and it took 1 month. That's for 160 km. But generally
    post from post office outwards or from abroad to post office would take from 10 to 14 days.

    When I was a child we had a mailbox, like Daniel. If I sent a postcard or letter to Germany or the Soviet Union, it would be in Berlin or Moscow in about 10-14 days, about same time for the USA or Canada. I got their correspondence in about the same time.

  11. I don't remember the mail being as bad for sending letters out of the country as it was for sending to the interior- at least for me.I never had too much trouble, and I admired the memory of the mailmen who never delivered us mail from someone else even though my neighborhood was all Quintas, and not numbered.Perhaps using names is less confusing than using numbers which are easier to mess up( at least on the delivery end)- no clue about the sorting end:


    2020 Woodruff Dr, as opposed to 2020 Mendenhall St

    or 1814 Charles Place...AND

    1818 Charles Place

    if you know what I mean.

    What was impossible for me were packages, which were mostly stolen, broken into and or used as bribes.

    One of my sons owns an internet retail that ships worldwide...they tried shipping to Venezuela but had to stop because of theft.

    This irritates me to no end because I would love to be sending packages to friends and family and cannot.I have to wait til someone is willing to play mailman for me.

    I'd rather tie a message to a raven's leg than send a package to Venezuela.

  12. Wait! Wait! Ipostel still exists?

    And people actually try to use it?

    How quaint!

  13. Firepigette,
    That problem can be solved with a hyphen or such a character.

    I remember someone had to send me a package through DHL a couple of years ago. She asked my address. I said it: xxxlaan 312, city, code XXXX.
    She: well, you are kidding me? Do you think they will find that? Come on, tell me: se encuentra cerca de un elevado? Está cerca de una panadería? Hay un negocio al frente? De qué es el negocio? Qué coloco? Dame colores, dame referencias!

    No! Just write it like that!

    Once in Valencia I wanted to buy a map of the city. I went to a dozen places and finally bought "the best", a pretty crappy map like a particularly bad one you would get for free at a bad tourist office in Europe. I was holding this map and someone came up to me and asked me where I had bought it, he was impressed by it, he didn't know there were such maps and could be bought. I was almost moved to tears.

    On a historical perspective:
    if you read what Alexander von Humboldt wrote in 1800 and what he said about his letters you will see the speed of Venezuelan post is now what it was when the German visited the Land of Grace. It improved a bit in the times of dysfunctional democracy, but we are back to the past (only that now Venezuela's relative backwardness is worse).

  14. The thing of it is, Daniel, is that a long time ago there were numbers on houses, as well as names.

    Over time, the numbering fell out of favor because there was more cachet in living in Quinta Ma. Auxiliadora than in casa nro. 15-22

    You are right, of course, if we don't even really have street signs, or house numbers, how can you have home delivery?

    Answer, now you have GPS, and most homes and buildings have names, so you could have home delivery if you wanted.

    There is a great way to spend money and put people to work, put up street signs where needed!

    As for mail itself, I'm thinking that package delivery is what will be left, since snail mail is going the way of the dinosaur

  15. Anonymous9:47 PM

    Well, Sadly I cant use DHL, FEDEX or UPS because any of these company can deliver to my house anything. I cant use an office to receive it because there is not guarantee. What I should do?


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