03 February 2007

Stolen mail surfaces in Ciudad Juarez

A story in today's Miami Herald, Mexico Edition reports on the PGR busting a small group of postal workers in Ciudad Juarez that stole an estimated 640,000 letters coming into the country from the United States. Apparently, the sticky-fingered posties were searching for valuables and cash, which is sometimes mailed back home as remittances from Mexican migrants in the United States.

If remittance money is being stolen, then this once again sadly highlights abusive behaviour by Mexicans in lower-level government positions towards migrants in on the other side of the border at the same time as the SRE and Mexican government officially lobbies on behalf of migrants. (Other stories have been published over the years of crooked cops and border officials stealing Christmas presents from migrants returning home for the holidays.)

As for the Mexican postal system (Sepomex), it's a disgrace. Mail often arrives late and the letter carrier in my neighourhood just chucks the letters at the house. Residents at Ajijic also report receiving bad service as Sepomex reportedly puts its employees in Chapala, keeping the Ajijic office understaffed.

In a curious event each November, letter carriers have a day in their honor marked on the calendar and it's customary to give them a tip. A friend here in Guadalajara failed to do so in past years and would subsequently receive no mail for several weeks thereafter. It begs the question: is it a tip being offered, or a bribe?

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