The dictator of an embattled second-world country arrives in America for medical treatment at the hospital where Armando works as an intensive care nurse. An emigrant from the same country as the despot, Armando befriends the ruler and his wife, and struggles to keep the secret from his father and other expatriates who want to kill the tyrant for revenge and a generous reward.
Armando immigrated to America with his family more than a decade ago. During the last decade, he has worked tirelessly to become assimilated into the American mainstream, and travel along the path of the American Dream. Recently, he has earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing as he’s worked his way up at a prestigious hospital intensive-care unit. While Armando, his wife, two children and father live in a small apartment in a large city, the happenings and social unrest of their homeland, Hautera, are never far from their minds.
Indeed, Armando’s father, Carlos, is part of an expatriate community working to overthrow the despot of the second-world country. The proximity of that challenge becomes strikingly real and urgent when the dictator arrives for medical treatment at the hospital where Armando works. Dedicated to “caring for his patients,” Armando keeps the despot’s whereabouts a secret despite the intensifying search for the detested leader among the expatriate community who has learned the president is not only in America, but also in their city.
A high-price reward for the assassination of the president and a chance encounter with the president’s wife gives an expatriate the incentive and compelling clue of
the location of the despot. The ambitious expatriate hatches a plot that includes Armando’s father, whose oldest son was tortured by the president’s secret security force, and who is filled with unquenchable vengeance. Meanwhile, Armando grows fond of the president and his wife, coming to see them as people with faults who have been foisted as leaders of a country where they have made regrettable compromises to keep the military from taking over.
As the assassination plan goes according to plan, Carlos realizes the futility of vengeance and cannot bring himself to kill the president, thereby leaving him an easy target for the president’s security force. In the end, Armando discovers he can never truly leave behind his homeland, and learns that assimilation into American culture is a painful integration that recasts his cultural identity.