Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Latin American Studies Program


Ben W. Fallaw

Second Advisor

Luis Millones


This senior honors thesis presents the missing chapter of the Chilean exile experience. It studies the return to Chile from exile that resulted from the Pinochet dictatorship of 1973–1990. It explains the long, complicated process of return, elaborates on its positive and negative aspects, and exposes the reality of returnees’ present-day situations. I know it is impossible to truly complete the story, because Chilean exiles, their children, and their grandchildren are still living. Each generation carries the experience with them in distinct ways, and they are constantly re-shaping the story’s ending as they live day by day. I therefore write the story of return up until present day, provide my reflections for the future, and leave it up to the returnees and Chilean society to see where they will take it next.

By using testimonies from interviews I have conducted and analyzing scholarly works written on the subject, I answer my guiding question: how did the processes of dictatorship and transition to democracy in Chile intersect with the experiences that exiles brought back with them from abroad to shape initial and long-term reinsertion? This thesis provides a valuable addition to the field of Latin American Studies because the long-term impacts of return from exile in Chile have not yet been studied in great detail, especially in the English language. My primary goal in writing this thesis is to demonstrate the penetrating impact of the Pinochet military dictatorship in Chile, which, twenty-two years after its downfall, still affects the lives of thousands of former Chilean exiles and their families.


Full-text download restricted to Colby College campus only.


exiles, interviews, dictatorships, repatriation

Multimedia URL