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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 362

El Señor Presidente by Miguel Ángel Asturias is the story of people living under a corrupt dictator. The novel focuses on the President's advisor, who falls in love with the daughter of someone who was branded a traitor.

A beggar, the Zany, murders Colonel Jose Sonriente when he mocks the beggar about his dead mother. Every beggar on Cathedral Porch is tortured until they agree to say that two other men—General Canales and Abel Carvajal—committed the murder. The Zany, though, escapes. The President's advisor, Miguel Angel Face, is ordered to help Canales escape; this is done so that Canales looks guilty. The President was the one who ordered the police to torture the beggars and cast blame on Carvajal and Canales.

Angel Face decides to kidnap Canales' daughter and falls in love with her. She, in turn, falls in love with him. However, she grows very ill and is unable to find help or friends because of the false accusations against her father. People think they'll be branded traitors as well if they associate with her. Angel Face chooses her over his association with the President and they have a son—though Angel Face never gets to meet him.

Several people are tortured for helping Canales escape, even though the President knows that it was his plan and his escape plan. Fedina de Rodas is a woman who is accused of helping Canales. She's tortured, her baby is killed, and she's forced into a brothel and a mental hospital.

Meanwhile, Canales escapes and plans a revolution to overthrow the corrupt President. During his travels, he saves a family from a doctor who is tormenting them with unfair, unpaid bills. The more people he meets, the more he realizes that the system he lived under was corrupt and unfair. When he hears that his daughter has married Angel Face and that the President was at the wedding—which he wasn't—he dies.

On a trip to America for the President, Angel Face is arrested on the President's orders. Angel Face dies in prison, believing that Camila has become the President's mistress. She moves to the country with her son, Miguel.


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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 190

This story, El Senor Presidente, revolves mainly around Miguel Angel Face, adviser to a cruel dictator. Angel Face is a tyrant with a soft spot. When Colonel Sonriente is murdered by Zany, a homeless man, Angel Face (on the president's orders) blames General Canales for the killing. The General flees and Angel Face immediately abducts his daughter and takes her to an inn.

Out of fear of the president, Camila's relatives refuse to help her, and Angel Face must protect the girl, whom he is falling in love with. The police then raid the General's house, and the wife of one of Angel Face's henchmen is imprisoned. Her child dies and she eventually becomes a prostitute.

Meanwhile, from his hiding place in the country, General Canales becomes aware of the suffering of the people. He vows to overpower the president but dies before he can. By now, Angel Face has married Camila, to the extreme displeasure of the president. Angel Face is ordered to leave home and then sent to prison, where he is tormented by rumors that his wife has become the president's mistress. He never sees Camila again.

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