Reverse Robin Hood
Stealing the tax money of the Middle Class to re-distribute to Mexican corporations.
(McClatchy News) - Cradling a flat-screen television set in her arms, Tomasa López beamed at her good fortune: She’d just taken part in the world’s biggest distribution of free digital televisions.
López, a domestic servant, was among thousands of people who’ve thronged a cavernous tent in the populous working-class Iztapalapa district, one of hundreds of venues across Mexico where the poor are receiving some of the 10 million digital television sets the government is giving away at no charge.
It’s a program costing the Mexican treasury $1.6 billion in a push to convert the nation from analog television signals to a digital format. The United States made the switch in 2009.
“I am happy,” López said. “We’ve always wanted a digital television. We’ll see more channels. The kids will see cartoons.”
It’s not just the recipients of TVs who benefit. Television manufacturers clustered along Mexico’s northern border also profit, as do the two powerful media conglomerates that are moving quickly into digital services. The two companies will soon face competition from a third television network mandated into existence in 2013 with a constitutional reform to bring greater competition to the industry.
“Stop using that word. It’s paid for with our taxes. It’s not free,” sputtered Rodríguez, who works for the federal social security institute.
|Tomasa López and her 11-year-old daughter Susana show off the new |
digital television set they picked up Aug. 6.
Already, the government has given away 4.6 million televisions in a massive operation that requires fleets of trucks to deliver the sets, and masses of workers to check documents, take fingerprints and scan the bar codes of the sets to ensure that each family gets only one.
A sense of urgency pervades the program. The constitutional reform enacted in 2013 gives the government a deadline of Dec. 31 to convert the nation to digital television. In recent weeks, government teams have been handing out 30,000 to 40,000 sets a day, but will have to double that figure to meet the deadline.
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