Manny White Vidal is an expert on Guarida, an oil-producing Caribbean nation riddled with poverty, corruption, and demagoguery. Trouble strikes when Claudio Sánchez takes power.
Spewing anti-American rhetoric, the charismatic leader seduces the masses with promises of revolutionary reform.
The U.S. State Department seeks to protect Big Oil by tapping Manny to embed himself in the University of Guarida. Torn between his loyalty to the United States and his ideals sympathetic to social justice, Manny advocates for mutual understanding. Yet, he stumbles into a political minefield. And a torrid affair with a hustler endangers his relationship with Dee, his prospective fiancée in New York. Meanwhile, Manny's search for a disappeared cousin, who joined the Freedom Front after Security Police murdered his parents, turns into a terrifying odyssey.
Convinced of American complicity in a botched attempt to assassinate Sánchez, Manny openly questions U.S. policy. Nevertheless, Sánchez accuses Manny of espionage, subjects him to water-boarding, and holds him hostage.
Can Manny extricate himself from the complicated web of deceit, betrayal, and treachery into which he has fallen?
Sánchez offers a deal in which Manny denounces American intervention in exchange for his freedom. Will he take the deal or deliver a State Department ultimatum? Manny's escapades raise questions about crossing cultural as well as moral boundaries, temptation, and individual responsibility. Ultimately, both Manny and Sánchez must choose to take a stand either for their country or their personal survival.