Otoño de los patriarcas

MADRID – “¡Que difícil es morir!”, cuentan que exclamó Francisco Franco en su lecho de muerte. Parece que la muerte resulta particularmente difícil a los autócratas, hasta cuando logran morir de causas naturales.

La agonía de un dictador es siempre una forma de teatro, en la que aparecen unas masas alborozadas, posibles sucesores que luchan por la supervivencia política y, entre bastidores, la camarilla del dictador empeñada en mantener la vida de su patriarca hasta que pueda asegurar sus privilegios. El yerno de Franco, que era también el médico de la familia, mantuvo al déspota agonizante con vida mediante  aparatos durante más de un mes.

No está del todo claro cuánto tiempo estuvo realmente muerto el venezolano Hugo Chávez antes de que se anunciara oficialmente su fallecimiento. Para ganar tiempo a fin de asegurar su futuro político, los funcionarios venezolanos dirigieron cuidadosamente la representación de la enfermedad y la posterior muerte de Chávez, sugiriendo incluso cerca del final, mientras recibía tratamientos contra su complejo cáncer terminal, que seguía “caminando y haciendo ejercicio”. El vacío informativo recordó al secretismo que rodeó las muertes de Stalin y Mao y la costumbre en el imperio Otomano de mantener secreta durante semanas la muerte del sultán hasta que se hubiera decidido su sucesión.

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