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1. Gremialismo

Amidst the tumultuous landscape of Chile in the 1960s, deep-seated transformations were setting the stage for a fervent clash between conservative and progressive ideologies. Central to this conflict was the Catholic University, and the emergence of a movement known as Gremialismo, which would significantly contribute to shaping the nation's political terrain.

The Catholic University, historically anchored in religious tenets, reached a critical juncture in 1967 when a student occupation spurred a series of democratizing reforms. 

As the university increasingly distanced itself from its ecclesiastical origins and began embracing more inclusive structures, a subset of its most progressive students vehemently advocated for the institution to assume a broader societal role beyond merely disseminating knowledge.

However, this transformation was met with mixed reactions within the Chilean society. Even some of the students of the Catholic University couldn't rally behind them. Influenced heavily by medieval legal tenets and expressing admiration for Franco's Spain, these scions of conservative families rallied together under the banner of Gremialismo.

Led by the charismatic Jaime Guzman, this movement resisted the democratizing agenda and defended hierarchies, urging universities to remain focused on their primary missions and not sway into activism.

A 1973 appearance by Jaime Guzman, the leader of the Gremialista movement, on Chilean television


Gremialismo's influence grew rapidly, with its leaders winning the student elections to push back against the reforms initiated by the 1967 student occupation. As the movement gained traction, it expanded its activities to oppose Salvador Allende's candidacy and presidency.

Playing a key role in mobilizing various trade groups, especially from the middle classes, Gremialismo contributed significantly to the October Strike of 1972 — a pivotal event in Chile's political history.


Fueling the opposition against Allende's socialist agenda, Gremialismo garnered support from sectors such as engineers, doctors, and truck owners. Their efforts further heightened tensions in the already polarized Chilean society.


Amidst this backdrop, the Chilean Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, also known as Fiducia, emerged as an influential ally of Gremialismo. Led by young conservatives, including Jaime Guzman, Fiducia was committed to defending the principles of Christian civilization, including the inviolability of private property and opposition to socialism and communism.


The emergence of Fiducia and the consolidation of Gremialismo marked a distinct shift in Chile's political landscape. The conservative movement grew stronger, presenting an ideological alternative to the Christian Democratic Party's reforms and garnering support from various conservative sectors, including employers' organizations, who viewed it as a necessary defense of tradition, order, and the status quo.

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