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Technocrats and politicians in an authoritarian regime. The ‘ODEPLAN Boys’ and the ‘Gremialists’ in Pinochet's Chile



This article analyses the role of the economic team known as the ‘Chicago Boys’ and of the main political faction in Pinochet's Chile, the ‘Gremialists’, founded by Jaime Guzmán in the Catholic University in 1966. These two sectors of the elite had a common professional and political career and were the principal civilian groups of the dictatorship who developed a long-term political strategy that deeply influenced both the economic and political orientation of the military regime. They shared a long-term power strategy, that was basically defined by the ‘Gremialists’. The article focuses on the role played by ODEPLAN in shaping the economic reforms. It demonstrates that the coherence of the economic model inherent in the implementation of its policies is to be found in the integration of the policies with a political project, articulated by the ‘Gremialists’.

I want to make it clear that I am convinced that the main responsibility for all that is going on in Chile lies not with the military, but rather with the civilian advisors and the whole climate of adulation and servilism that the economic right has created around them, The ideology of the government was born in the most traditional circles of the economic right, disguised under the sign of ‘nationalism’ and shielded behind ‘the courage to declare oneself anti- Marxist’.



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This article was prepared with the support of Volkswagen Stiftung. Thanks to Pablo Policzer, I found out about the existence of the Minutes of the Honourable Junta of Government (AHJG). The President of the Senate, Sergio Romero (RN) and that of the Chamber of Deputies, Gutenberg Martínez (PDC) gave their authorisation for me to revise the Minutes, which are secret. The Jaime Guzmán Foundation gave permission to view the political leader's papers. I would also like to thank Humberto Vega and Alfonso Lazo from MIDEPLAN (formerly ODEPLAN), Alan Angell from Oxford University for his helpful criticism of an earlier manuscript and Kirsten Sehnbruch for reviewing the translation and editing this text. I would like to make it clear that I am responsible for the contents of this article.


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Journal of Latin American Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-216X
  • EISSN: 1469-767X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-latin-american-studies
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