In all honesty, I’m confident I qualify for the free digital set-top box President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner et al has given out in time for the World Cup. Fact. The government’s aim was for at least a million extra Argentines to be able to watch the 64 games going on in South Africa.
Although I’m three decades and two years away from retirement, and have four cats instead of the required seven or more children, the idea behind the national ‘My digital TV’ scheme. which rolls out from today, is to make digital telly accessible to everyone in Argentina. Which must surely include poorly paid journalists who can’t afford to splash at La Cabrera on a Maldon-salted Kobe steak any time soon.
Enough about my financial crisis. Joking aside, state-run Canal 7 is running the show for the moment in order to bring digital TV to the people, and although Argentines have a particular skill for hooking up to other people’s electricity wires (just look up on the average street) and internet, it’s harder to tap into a satellite dish. Plus it costs upwards of $100 pesos a month, steep if you’re a primary school on around $800 pesos a month.
Even if you do sign up for an internet and TV package, these deals often only last three months.
However, despite all the fanfare of getting the million set-top boxes out in time for World Cup – and actually only 400,000 have been posted – really, they are a pre-election bribe.
CFK lost control of the Lower House in 2009’s mid-term elections, and Argentina’s history dictates that whenever that happens to a serving president that they never get to complete their term.
So she needs whatever help she can get. Farmers are still angry over the cap on beef exports, her VP Julio Cobos no longer supports her, she’s recently been involved in an overly public verbal battle with BA city mayor Macri over the Teatro Colón’s reopening, there’s not just been mist but full-blown fog over the proposed food import ban, affecting relations with Brazil, and that’s just been the past few weeks. Frankly, voters can’t wait to head to the ballot box next year.
So reflecting on this matter, if I did qualify for a freebie, I’d take it. Without a shadow of a doubt. But only because my version of foreigner’s DNI means I can’t vote in the presidential election… and then I’d sell my set-top box on Mercardo Libre and splash out on a Maldon-salted Kobe steak…
See the <Herald, Friday, June 11, for more.