Free TVs seen with political strings attached

New York Times – Isabel Valdez Rodríguez is expecting to pick up two free 24-inch digital televisions — one for herself; the other for her mother — courtesy of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government.

Her windfall, just two coupons printed with a promise at this point, is part of the government’s effort to switch the country to digital television. To help Mexico’s poorest citizens keep pace with technology, officials are vowing to give away 10 million free televisions.

But in Mexico’s most populous state, the handout has merged with something else: an election campaign.

While the government describes the television plan as the way to bring all Mexicans into the digital age, opposition parties on the left and the right call it old-fashioned vote buying.

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