News, features, and commentary from the biggest city in the Americas, Mexico City.

Free TV’s! Vote Buying As Never Seen Before!


Another day, another massive waste of money on the part of the Mexican government.

Now, apparently the Peña Nieto administration has deemed it necessary to hand out millions of free television sets, because of course, this is a vital service, just like funding health, schools, and roads.

And not just will the TV giveaway be any old TV’s. No, they will be 24-inch ‘smart’ (ie, internet capable) sets, available to a whopping 13 million households across the nation (to those regarded as being of lower incomes, so they claim).

And you wonder why they had to raise taxes? This is why.

Officially, this is part of the country’s switch to digital television, the apagón (shutdown) of the old analog system, a move already undertaken in the U.S. and Canada in the past decade. (The Mexican government has been rather late to the game in the switchover.)

Oddly enough, neither of those two governments saw fit to hand out free TV sets. (There were provisions to make digital decoders available at a discount for those who wanted to keep their old analog sets, however.)

But in Mexico, where the government apparently has more money than it knows how to spend, it looks an awful lot like the federal authorities will instead attempt to bribe the voters with complimentary television sets.

Kind of puts the old practices of free t-shirts and toasters at political rallies look like the work of rank amateurs.

According to officials with the Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT), the program is to cost 26 billion pesos (approx. USD $2 billion), but their math doesn’t add up.

At that amount, they’d have to be able to acquire sets for an average price of MXN$2,000 (USD$150), which is a laugh in this country, where such electronics are notoriously much more expensive than north of the border.

So obviously, by the time the full costs are added up, the bill will be considerably higher – you know, once the cost of inflation and bribes are factored in.

Though these are to be smart TV’s, recipients won’t get free internet. No, the big bad government will actually make people buy that service on their own! How mean!

At this point, it should also be noted just how incompetent the SCT has already been in the implementation of the new digital system.

The first step, the shutdown of the old system in Tijuana, was delayed countless times. And those delays are being repeated elsewhere in the north (Mexicali, Ciudad Juarez, Laredo, Reynosa, Matamoros, and Monterrey), where they were to have seen the analog shutdown last November. The latest timeline set for them is for May, though reports today (Feb 28), already quote the SCT as saying that could be delayed to July.

We’re shocked that there could be yet another delay.

The only thing we can say with near certainty is that TV sets will be delivered in time for the next election … just in time to vote.

What a coincidence.

Twitter: @mexdfmagazine

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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