Jaime Guzmán

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Jaime Guzmán
Senator for Santiago Poniente
In office
11 March 1990 – 1 April 1991
Succeeded byMiguel Otero Lathrop
Personal details
Born(1946-06-28)28 June 1946
Santiago, Chile
Died1 April 1991(1991-04-01) (aged 44)
Hospital Militar de Santiago
Political partyIndependent Democratic Union
Alma materPontifical Catholic University of Chile

Jaime Jorge Guzmán Errázuriz (June 28, 1946 – April 1, 1991) was a Chilean constitutional law professor, speechwriter and member and doctrinal founder of the conservative Independent Democrat Union party. In the 1960s he opposed the University Reform and became an avid organizer of the Gremialist movement. He opposed President Salvador Allende and later became a close advisor of Pinochet and his dictatorship. A professor of Constitutional Law, he played an important part in the drafting of the 1980 Chilean Constitution. He served briefly as senator during the transition to democracy before being assassinated in 1991 by members of the communist urban guerrilla Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jaime Guzmán was born in Santiago to Jorge Guzmán Reyes, who was a sports leader of the Catholic University,[2] and Carmen Errázuriz Edwards, who was a travel agent for tourists in Europe.[3][4] Between 1951 and 1962 he studied in the Colegio de los Sagrados Corazones de Santiago, where at a young age he showed interest in literature and strong leadership qualities. Already during his senior year he began to show interest in political life. An excellent student, he graduated from high school at the age of 15.

In 1963, only 16 years old, he was accepted to study law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, graduating in 1968 with highest honours. He was awarded the Monseñor Carlos Casanueva prize for being the best student in his class.

During his university years he founded the Movimiento Gremial Universitario, a conservative political movement that in 1968 won the presidency of the student union of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, maintaining an almost uninterrupted leadership until NAU (Nueva Acción Universitaria), a left wing group, became majority since 2009. The Movimiento Gremial quickly expanded through the main universities in Chile.

According to Oscar Contardo he was identified as gay within a portfolio held by the National Intelligence Directorate.[5]

After the 1973 coup[edit]

After the military coup, Guzmán became a close advisor to General Augusto Pinochet and a highly influential policymaker in Chile at this time. Already two days after the coup Guzmán was tasked to study the creation of a new constitution.[6] Later he was summoned by Pinochet to take part in the Comisión Ortúzar charged with drafting the new constitution. He also was a key participant in the drafting of Pinochet's Chacarillas speech of 1977, one of the founding texts of the military regime.[7]

Enjoying close contacts with Jorge Alessandri, he converted himself to the neoliberal economic policies supported by the Chicago Boys and eventually distanced himself from Alessandri, while getting closer to Pinochet and to his minister Sergio Fernández.

Even though Guzmán never assumed any official position in the military dictatorship of Pinochet, he remained one of the closest collaborators, playing an important ideological role. He participated in the design of important speeches of Pinochet, and provided frequent political and doctrinal advice and consultancy.[8]

Guzmán declared to have a "negative opinion" of National Intelligence Directorate director Manuel Contreras. According to him this lead him into various "inconviniencies and difficulties".[9] From its side the National Intelligence Directorate identified Guzmán as an intelligent and manipulative actor in a secret 1976 memorandum.[10] The same document posits Guzmán manipulated Pinochet and sought ultimately to displace him from power, to lead himself a government in collaboration with Jorge Alessandri.[10] The National Intelligence Directorate spied on Guzmán and kept watch on his everyday activities.[10]

During the democratic transition[edit]

Following Chile's return to democracy, Jaime Guzmán presented himself as a candidate in the legislative elections. Despite coming third place, behind important figures of the Concertación, Andrés Zaldívar and Ricardo Lagos, he was still elected due to the binomial electoral system.[citation needed]

Guzmán continued until his death his functions as a professor of constitutional law in the Faculty of Law of the Catholic University of Chile. He was known to have a vast knowledge of Scholasticism.


Monument in homage to Jaime Guzmán inaugurated in 2008, located in the entrance to Sanhattan, in Vitacura, Santiago de Chile.

Guzmán died on 1 April 1991, shot at the exit of the Catholic University where he was a professor of constitutional law. He was driven to a nearby hospital and died three hours later from several bullet wounds. His assassination was carried out by members of the far-left urban guerrilla movement Frente Patriotico Manuel Rodriguez (FPMR), Ricardo Palma Salamanca and Raúl Escobar Poblete, however the operation is believed to have been planned by the leaders of the movement Galvarino Apablaza, Mauricio Hernández Norambuena and Juan Gutiérrez Fischmann.[1] who had been planning the murder of Guzman since the 1980s.

Hernández (also known as "Commander Ramiro") was the only one arrested and tried for the murder of Guzmán, but after serving less than three years in a Chilean prison he escaped and sought refuge in Cuba. In 2002 Hernández was arrested in Brazil for the kidnapping of Brazilian businessman Washington Olivetto. He is currently serving a sentence in Chile.

The assassination of Guzmán prompted the Aylwin administration to create the intelligence organization La Oficina on April 26, 1991, to neutralize violent left-wing groups that had not accepted the premises of the Chilean transition to democracy.[11][12]

A theory postulated by the sister of Guzmán and her son is that Manuel Contreras and Pinochet had infiltrated FPMR to induce the assassination.[13] Allegedly the motivation was Guzmán's supposed proneness to collaborate with Chilean justice to clarify human rights violations.[13]

Political views[edit]

Jaime Guzmán.

At the age of 12 Jaime Guzmán participated in the political campaign of Jorge Alessandri distributing propaganda.[14] About this Guzmán recognizes he had «a close ideological and personal proximity with Jorge Alessandri», he adds that «he was the person who influenced me most in my interest for politics. His presidential candidacy in 1958 and his presidency, between my 12 and 18 years, made me admire him as a superior man».[15]

Guzmán was influenced by his teacher Jaime Eyzaguirre and by Plinio Correa Oliveira.[14] Regarding Juan Vázquez de Mella there has been a dispute on whether or not Jaime's gremialismo thought was influenced by him.[16]

From about the time of 1973 Chilean coup d'état Guzmán became familiarized with the ideas of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics, this thanks to his contacts with Chicago Boys such as Miguel Kast.[14]

According to historian Renato Cristi in the writing of the new Constitution of Chile Guzmán based his work on the pouvoir constituant concept used by Carl Schmitt, a German intellectual associated with Nazism, as well as in the ideas of market society of Friedrich Hayek. This way Guzmán enabled a framework for an authoritarian state with a free market system.[17] In the aspects where Guzmán was not satisfied with Hayek's thought he found meaning in the Spanish translation of the book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism by Michael Novak.[14]


  1. ^ a b Especial de Emol.com - 15 años de la muerte de Jaime Guzmán
  2. ^ Moncada Durruti, Belén (2006). Jaime Guzmán: Una democracia contrarrevolucionaria. El político de 1964 a 1980 (in Spanish). p. 25. ISBN 9789562845205.
  3. ^ Gazmuri, Cristian (2013). ¿Quién era Jaime Guzmán?. ISBN 978-956-01-0042-9.
  4. ^ "Carmen Errázuriz Edwards". RodoVid (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  5. ^ Oscar Contardo, Raro, una historia gay de Chile, planeta, 2011, p133
  6. ^ Basso Prieto, Carlos (2013-11-05). "Los informes secretos de la CIA sobre Jaime Guzmán". El Mostrador. Retrieved 2021-09-29.
  7. ^ Discurso de Chacarillas (1977)[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Carlos Huneus (3 April 2001). "Jaime Guzmán no fue un defensor de los Derechos Humanos en el Régimen de Pinochet" (PDF). Archivo Chile.
  9. ^ Miño, Claudia (2015-08-08). "Jaime Guzmán y su repudio hacia Manuel Contreras". Radio Bío-Bío. Retrieved 2021-09-29.
  10. ^ a b c "La Dina de Contreras espió a Jaime Guzmán". El Periodista. 2018-09-10. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  11. ^ Torres, Cristián (March 27, 2021). "La historia secreta de "La Oficina", el organismo que persiguió, torturó y mató a subversivos durante la naciente democracia chilena". Infobae (in Spanish). Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  12. ^ Muñoz, Hector (April 1, 2021). "Javier Rebolledo sobre Schilling: "Es el mismo discurso que da el 'Mamo' Contreras"". Futuro.cl (in Spanish). Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  13. ^ a b Aguiló, Sergio (2016-03-28). "La hora de la verdad en el asesinato de Jaime Guzmán". Radio Cooperativa. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  14. ^ a b c d Moncada Durruti, Belén (2006). Jaime Guzmán: una democracia contrarevolucionaria : el político de 1964 a 1980 (in Spanish). Santiago: RIL editores. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-956-284-520-5.
  15. ^ Biografía de Guzmán in Icarito, 31.05.2010; access 09.03.2013
  16. ^ Díaz Nieva, José (2008). "Influencias de Juan Vázquez de Mella sobre Jaime Guzmán" (PDF). Verbo (in Spanish). 467–468: 661–670. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  17. ^ El pensamiento político de Jaime Guzmán (2nd ed.). LOM Ediciones. Retrieved 10 July 2014.