The book does not state exactly where the story develops. We know it's a Latin American locality, and most probably, South America. Given the dictatorship that is in power, the consolidating force of the military, and the fact that individuals who speak out against the regime that be must do so in an underground manner (like Francisco's father from his kitchen), one can surmise that the setting is somewhere like Argentina or Chile. I would suggest that the latter might be relevant because Allende's own family history involves being involved in Chilean politics and being ousted by the military, after which she and her family took refuge in Venezuela. The use of military force, torture, and retributive actions taken by the state indicate the Chile might be a paralell for what is depicted in the story, a la Pinochet's regime.