Novel Set in Fictional Central American Country Displays Ineffective Aspects of Foreign Policy
“[T]he countries comprising Latin America should be the cornerstone of our foreign policy efforts, as the cultures, economies and geographical proximity of these nations should make them natural allies and trading partners,” writes Levy. “The opposite trend has been taking place recently, which should be cause for alarm.”
In “El Volcan,” the taciturn Lt. Peter Kane is assigned as military advisor to the Armed Forces of San Cristobal (FASC), fighting a counterinsurgency against the Gerardo Rivas Popular Army (GREP). En route he learns about the raging conflict, intrigued by San Cristobal’s all-but-forgotten natives, the Tiche. After spending time with the Tiche, Lt. Kane becomes convinced they are somehow manipulating events in the country.
Lt. Kane’s brief in-country orientation tour turns to near disaster when his helicopter is shot down and he must evade hostile insurgents and guerrilla attacks. The story also includes the perspective of an insurgent under the pseudonym El Caballo of the GREP, whose arguments against the fighting leads to a murder attempt by a fellow guerrilla. Both men’s experiences leave them questioning their mission and own values:
Caballo was holding up the severed head of El Buitre by its matted, tangled black hair. Its eyes had rolled back into the lids, and the lips were hanging apart in a grisly death grin. Coronel Herrera involuntarily let a small gasp escape his lips and took a step backward, as many of his troops turned away in horror and revulsion. Caballo dropped the thing into the dirt at the colonel’s feet…”Now, mi Coronel,” said Caballo quietly, “I work for you.”
“El Volcan,” based on actual events, displays that no issue – especially foreign policy or war – is black-and-white.
C.L. Levy is a neurological surgeon in Chesapeake, Va. He began his career before medical school as a Marine Corps intelligence officer of nine years specializing in Latin America and counterinsurgency operations. He studied the conflict in El Salvador at the Defense Intelligence Agency and also served as a military advisor to the Armed Forces of El Salvador during their civil war. “It seemed that many of the shortfalls in U.S. policy were due to ignorance of the culture in the nations we were engaging,” said Levy. Levy operated as a navy neurosurgeon before joining the medical staff at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and has a combined total of 22 years of active and reserve military service with seven personal decorations. He resides in Suffolk, Va. with his wife of 21 years and his teenage son.
ISBN: 9781438952666 – 6 x 9 – Paperback – 464 pages – $20.49
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