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Cuando los políticos quieren ser historiadores

STANFORD – “La historia no se repite, pero rima”, dijo Mark Twain. Aguda observación a la que varias generaciones de dirigentes políticos han dado sustento con sus reiterados intentos de decidir cómo serán recordados, atribuyéndose el crédito por lo que anduvo bien y culpando a sus predecesores por lo que anduvo mal.

Muchos políticos no dejan de maquillar los hechos ni cuando abandonan el cargo. Es famosa la frase del primer ministro británico Winston Churchill: “La historia me tratará bien, porque la escribiré yo”. Y los varios volúmenes de su obra sobre la Segunda Guerra Mundial no solo contienen muchas de sus frases más memorables (como aquella de “nunca tantos debieron tanto a tan pocos”), sino que también están llenos de justificaciones para sus acciones durante la guerra.

Tal vez los escritos de Churchill no sean imparciales, pero ofrecen multitud de detalles e información de primera mano, que no es fácil inferir de memorandos y documentos oficiales (usualmente incompletos y de estilo reservado). Los historiadores saben que la presión a recordar el pasado como los vencedores quieren que sea recordado es grande. Como dijo Napoleón Bonaparte: “La historia es un conjunto de mentiras aceptado de común acuerdo”.

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