A Small Village Near Todos los Santos

We could hardly interest a single person in reviewing Point of No Return, the novel from which the excerpt below is taken, let alone publish it, apart from ourselves. The main problems in the literary world can be found precisely where the main problems in the world are to be found, or ignored….

Opening excerpt from Chapter Thirty, of Andre Vltchek’s novel Point of No Return:  

30  Fifty men entered a small village near Todos los Santos. They walked silently at two in the morning, covered by darkness. The entire village had hardly one hundred houses and it was inhabited by indigenous people. There was no vigilance and no police post. In the past, no protection had been needed.

For decades this place had hardly appeared on government maps. It was insignificant, too far away, squeezed between steep rocky hills on one side and a humid tropical forest on the other. The locals spoke their own language, hardly understanding Spanish, mixing Catholicism with their own ancient beliefs. The village was miserably poor but nobody was starving; families relied on their own traditional support system.

During the last decade, guerillas had periodically stopped in the village to rest and to buy food. ENLP men and women were given a small barn and were served food and water. The rebels tried to explain their strategy and their goals, giving reasons why places like this had ended up in total misery. Despite that, only one local boy decided to join them, and even that had happened five years ago. This place never sided with the government or the revolutionary army. It never managed to understand the terminology either side used. Its people knew how to fish in the streams and how to build humble huts, how to maintain fire and hunt for wild animals – they knew how to live or at least how to survive. But they knew nothing about ideology and nothing about politics. When it came to religion, to them Jesus Christ was more like a friend, a bearded peasant like themselves who guarded them from the sky. They knew nothing about this God since their minds were not trained to think abstractly and they had a tendency to believe in what they were able to touch. They knew nothing about globalization and multinational companies, nothing about the revolution that was gaining strength just a few miles away from their backyards.

The fifty men who entered the village were all well armed and their bodies showed signs of long and rigorous military training. Their black leather boots were identical with those worn by the regular army, but these men were not soldiers. Some had tattoos engraved on their arms. The tattoos moved each time their muscles flexed. They were all from the paramilitary unit, a right wing private army, although some of them had just recently retired from the regular military force. Their main purpose was to defend the present state of things in the country, to protect the feudal and hierarchical structure of society. They were paid by the powerful landowners and businessmen in Todos los Santos and in the capital. They often had to do the work that even the hardened and extremely brutal local armed forces preferred to avoid. 

They entered the village and spread around, moving silently despite their heavy boots and large bodies. Each of four paths that led to the jungle was secured by two men with machine guns so no one could escape.

The leader of the paramilitary group accompanied by five of his best men went straight to the house of the mayor. They kicked the door several times but there was no answer and they kicked it again, and they leaned on it with all their force and it finally let go.

They found a middle aged indigenous man sitting at the dining table, his wife next to him. They kicked him in the stomach until he doubled and fell on the ground. …

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