BY LILLIAM RIERA | Granma International Staff Writer
RAPIDGRAM is a new message service from the United States to Cuba offered by CRONE Inc., a U.S. firm, and Unidad de Negocios International, part of the Cuba S.A. Telecommunications Company (ETECSA).
Letters, postcards, copies of documents and photos sent from the United States by this agency are delivered to Cuba in less than 72 hours by ETECSA. They can be hand delivered or, at the client’s preference, assuming he or she lives in Havana, picked up at the multi-service telecommunications center (Telepunto) located on Obispo and Habana Streets in Old Havana.
Lovany Jimenez, commercial specialist for Unidad de Negocios, explained to Granma International: “right now, the service only flows in one direction but, in the not so distant future, it will work both ways, that is to say, from Cuba to the United States.”
The specialist mentioned that the agency is also thinking of including audio and video message options.
“More than 50 clients have benefited since RapidGram’s February 1 opening,” said Jimenez, and commented that in order to use the service, “there’s no need to have a computer, e-mail, Internet access or a credit card.” In the city of Hialeah, Florida, for example, those interested can simply arrange to send their respective items from the service center itself.
CRONE Inc. is a firm based in South Florida, licensed by the U.S. State Department to operate with the island from U.S. territory.
But ETECSA’s Unidad de Negocios International offers yet another service through its website [url=http://www.calls2cuba.com]http://www.calls2cuba.com[/url] that allows clients to reserve telephone calls to Cuba by conventional means.
Pedro Alberto Morfi, director of Unidad de Negocios, told Granma International that “more than 2,000 users have benefited” since February 2002. Once a client reserves a call, it is registered through one of two services: Opera and Direct. With the former, the call is arranged and reserved by an international operator, while the latter is automatic and made directly by phone.
The director explained that this last service “is still in its formative stages,” but said that it would be ready this year.