Jaime Guzmán

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Jaime Jorge Guzmán Errázuriz
Senator for Santiago Poniente
In office
11 March 1990 – 1 April 1991
Succeeded by Miguel Otero Lathrop
Personal details
Born (1946-06-28)28 June 1946
Santiago, Chile
Died 1 April 1991(1991-04-01) (aged 45)
Hospital Militar de Santiago
Nationality Chilean
Political party Independent Democratic Union
Alma mater Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
Profession Lawyer

Jaime Jorge Guzmán Errázuriz (June 28, 1946 - April 1, 1991) was a Chilean lawyer and senator, member and doctrinal founder of the conservative Independent Democrat Union party. In the 1960s he opposed the University Reform and became the main ideologist of the gremialismo thought. He opposed President Salvador Allende and later became a collaborator of the Pinochet Regime. A professor of Constitutional Law, he played an important part in the drafting of the 1980 Constitution that was imposed upon the populace by the dictatorship. He was assassinated in 1991, during the transition to democracy, by members of the communist group Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front.[1]

Early life[edit]

See also: Gremialismo

Jaime Guzmán was born in Santiago to Jorge Guzmán Reyes and Carmen Errázuriz Edwards. 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.

After the 1973 coup[edit]

After the military coup, Guzmán became a close advisor to General Augusto Pinochet and a highly influential policy maker in Chile at this time, including being summoned by Pinochet to take part in the Comisión Ortúzar charged with drafting a new constitution. He also was a key participant in the drafting of Pinochet's Chacarillas speech of 1978, one of the founding texts of the military regime.[2]

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 militar 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.[3]

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 by his driver but died 3 hours later from several bullet wounds. His assassination was executed by members of the far-left urban guerrilla movement Frente Patriotico Manuel Rodriguez (FPMR), Ricardo Palma Salamanca y Raúl Escobar Poblete, however the operation is believed to have been planned by the leaders of the movement Galvarino Apablaza, Mauricio Hernández Norambuena y Juan Gutiérrez Fischmann.[1] who had been planning the murder of Guzman since the 80s.

Hernández (also known as "Commander Ramiro") was the only one arrested and tried for the murder of Guzman, but after serving less than 3 years in a Chilean prison escaped and sought refuge in Cuba. In 2002 Hernandez was arrested in Brazil for the kidnapping of Brazilian businessman Washington Olivetto. He is currently serving a 30-year sentence in the Brazilian prison of Catanduvas.[citation needed]

Apablaza, lives with his wife and three sons in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2010 Argentina's Supreme Court granted a request of extradition by the Chilean Government. However, this request was later overturned by the Argentina's National Commission for Refugees (Comisión Nacional de Refugiados), being freed in September 2010.[citation needed]

Political thought[edit]

Jaime Guzmán.

At the age of 12 Jaime Guzmán participated in the political campaign of Jorge Alessandri distributing propaganda.[4] About this Guzmán recognizes he had «a close ideological and personal proximty with Jorge Alessandri», he ads 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».[5]

Guzmán was influenced by his teacher Jaime Eyzaguirre and by Plinio Correa Oliveira.[4] Regarding Juan Vázquez de Mella there has been a dispute on whether or not Jaime's gremialismo thought was influenced by him.[6]

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.[4]

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.[7] In the aspects where Guzmán was not satisfied with Hayek thought he found meaning in the Spanish translation of the book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism by Michael Novak.[4]


  1. ^ a b Especial de Emol.com - 15 años de la muerte de Jaime Guzmán
  2. ^ Discurso de Chacarillas (1978)
  3. ^ Carlos Huneus (3 April 2001). "Jaime Guzmán no fue un defensor de los Derechos Humanos en el Régimen de Pinochet" (PDF). Archivo Chile. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Biografía de Guzmán in Icarito, 31.05.2010; access 09.03.2013
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ El pensamiento político de Jaime Guzmán (2nd ed.). LOM Ediciones. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 

See also[edit]