El “qué habría pasado” de 1989

NUEVA YORK – La escena se ha retransmitido durante semanas en las pantallas de televisión de todo el mundo como si los hechos fueran noticias de última hora: berlineses felices bailando encima del tristemente célebre muro que fue derribado hace veinte años el 9 de noviembre de 1989. Las personas gritaban “Die Mauer ist Weck,” y alzaban los puños ante las cámaras en la Puerta de Brandeburgo. “¡El muro ya no está!”

Sin duda, esta es una de las imágenes icónicas del siglo XX. Para los estadounidenses, en especial, fue el emblema totémico de la victoria en la Guerra Fría. Con todo, si usted hubiera estado ahí esa noche, como yo estuve, cubriendo la noticia para Newsweek, el momento sería más ambiguo, en particular si se mira en retrospectiva después de dos décadas. En pocas palabras, la historia pudo haber sido muy diferente, y casi lo fue.

Egon Krenz, el jefe comunista de la República Democrática Alemana, lo llamó un “gran descuido” Él estaba disfrutando de un momento excepcional de triunfo cuando el vocero de su partido llegó, avanzada la tarde del 9 de noviembre. “¿Algo que anunciar?”, preguntó Günter Schabowski inocentemente. Krenz vaciló y después le dio un comunicado de prensa. Iba a anunciar una gran iniciativa que había hecho que se aprobara en el Parlamento apenas unas horas antes, y que la gente impaciente del país había estado exigiendo en las calles durante semanas: el derecho a viajar. Krenz quería dárselo –pero hasta el siguiente día, el 10 de noviembre.

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