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Salvador Mendoza
A painting of Mendoza on a town wall.
Character in Just Cause
First appearance Some Enchanted Evening
Job General and President of San Esperito
Last known status Deceased

Salvador Mendoza is the main antagonist of Just Cause (1).

Personal info

He is "El Presidente" (The President) of San Esperito. It is the aim of the game to overthrow his dictatorship and eventually kill him so that a pro-American democratic government can be installed in its place.

According to the game manual, his rank in the San Esperito Military is general.

Mendoza appears to be in his late 40's or early 50's. The hair on the sides of his head is a notable shade of light grey (almost white).

He has two identical twin sons named Luis and Tomaso.

He owns a private island called Isla Dominio which features a grand presidential palace and several military complexes.

Mendoza's face is a huge part of the San Esperito Military's propaganda machine. It is seen quite frequently around the country on many walls (see above) as well as posters and other miscellaneous locations in the game. Over the course of the story, most of these images get defiled by Ejértico Revolucionario de Liberación, a paramilitary guerrilla faction attempting to overthrow Mendoza from power.

As printed on the San Esperito currency (which has his picture on the bills), his official full title is "El Presidente Del San Esperito".

In the nation's capital, Esperito City, a giant statue of Salvador Mendoza can be found in the southeast quadrant.

A province containing half of Esperito City has been named after him: Provincia Mendoza City. The same applies to the nation's largest civilian airport: Mendoza International Airport.

El Presidente soup

Main article: San Esperitian cuisine.

The El Presidente soup is a food product, advertised by Salvador. It's a "cream of mushroom" soup.

The advertisement poster has a picture of Salvador and a bowl of the soup. The soup is light brown / beige and it has some green stuff in it (doesn't look like mushroom soup). The advertisement slogan on the poster is: "Ready to serve!"

Quote from the game manual:

"Citizens of San Esperito! It is I, El Presidente. I know that many of you wonder how it is that I can work so hard and still seem so well-rested and at peace. How can I look so devilishly handsome at my age? Do I never stress? Am I never ground down by the millstones of everyday toil? Do I never give into the anger and frustration that comes with great responsibility? Well yes, of course I do. But when I do I always relax with a big bowl of El Presidente Cream-of-mushroom soup. It takes the edge right off and recharges my batteries and enables me to focus even harder on the task at hand! El Presidente! The soup for winners!"


One week before the events of the game, General Mendoza and his army staged a coup against San Esperito's republic government by storming the parliament building in Esperito City and seizing power from the nation's president, Hernan Augusto. Mendoza came into power in San Esperito and Augusto went into hiding.

Mendoza's illegal takeover wasn't exactly well received by much of San Esperito's populace. To ensure that his iron grip over the nation was supreme and order was maintained, Mendoza began employing the services of an elite international mercenary group called the Black Hand. He deploys these mercenaries throughout the country to further support his troops as well as the San Esperito Police Department.

Seeing that the only hope is fighting back, groups of civilians begin organizing themselves into a paramilitary coalition called Ejértico Revolucionario de Liberación. The rebels select José Caramicas to lead them against El Presidente.

Meanwhile, an organized crime syndicate, known as the Rioja Cartel, begins taking on a more bold and active stance in the wake of Mendoza's coup. Their arch-rivals, the Montano Cartel, staunchly support Mendoza and his government, tempting the Riojas into rebellion, allying themselves with the Guerrillas in the process.

Quote from the game manual:

"In a dispatch to the press, the new government claimed to have, "freed the nation from a pack of vultures feeding off the corpse of the national constitution."
"Since becoming president, General Salvador Mendoza has hired in "foreign security specialists" to subdue regions surrounding the nation's capital. All week there has been unrest, with demonstrations throughout the island. When asked weather the security specialists are actually mercenaries, the President scoffed at the reporter and answered "I will not idly stand by and watch as parasitic, motherless dogs pillage my country. I will use whatever means necessary. Petty name-calling and blind moral issues are luxuries I cannot afford as the father of a nation!"

Closely monitoring the situation, the United States secretly decides to take action. A covert-arm of the CIA, known as The Agency, is entrusted with the mission of ensuring Mendoza's downfall and replacing his dictatorship with a pro-American democratic government (like what the real CIA commonly does). The Agency dispatches three of its best agents to San Esperito: Tom Sheldon, Maria Kane, and Rico Rodriguez.

Sheldon and Maria get sent in first to pose undercover as a married tourist couple. Rico is the last to arrive. Several days later, The Agency sends him on a plane. Fully armed and ready for action, Rico parachutes from the plane. Things escalated from there.

At the start of the game, Sheldon and Rico receive a nice welcoming party from El Presidente's forces. In the mission Devil's Drop Zone, the pair are forced to fight off the San Esperito Military almost as soon as Rico touches down. Eventually they are halted when Tom requested air support from The Agency.

To bring down Mendoza, Rico has to win over the support of El Presidente's enemies. Sheldon and Maria make this a priority for him and soon Rico has gotten himself well-acquainted with José Caramicas, José's sister Esperanza Caramicas, and the Rioja Cartel through Inmaculada Palmiera the wife of Rioja Boss Edmundo (surname unknown). The rebels and Riojas eventually agree to ally themselves with Rico and offer him their full support.

After dealing a major blow to the San Esperito Police Department, Sheldon explains that they must now do the same to the San Esperito Military. In the mission Some Like it Hotter, Rico is assigned to kill General Jose Durango, a high-ranking official and one of Mendoza's most trusted advisors. Durango is discovered with his "pants down" at the El Volcan whorehouse by Rico and is quickly killed before he can retaliate.

Mendoza no longer becomes a major driving force in any of Rico's missions until Broadcast News. José Caramicas is leading a small contingent of Ejértico Revolucionario de Liberación to storm a radio station in the city of Nuevo Estocolmo. Sheldon orders Rico to assist Caramicas and ensure that his mission to broadcast a revolutionary speech to the San Esperito populace is a success. Rico successfully defends Caramicas from several attacks by the San Esperito Military (realls SWAT officers) until his speech is concluded.

At the beginning of the mission I've Got the Power, Mendoza broadcasts a speech to his people, telling them not to believe Caramicas' lies and advising them all to stay safely in their homes until the rebel threat has been dealt with. Sheldon and Maria advise Rico that now is the perfect time to deal an even greater blow to Mendoza's ego by disrupting the electric power station of San Pedro, located on an island in Isla San Cristobal. While carrying out his assignment, Rico discovers that Mendoza has nuclear weapon capabilities based on the discovery of a nuclear reactor at the northern tip of the island. Sheldon and Maria are very troubled to hear this because they had suspected it was true. Nevertheless, they order Rico to destroy the reactor and he does. A huge portion of the island is then consumed by a massive fireball.

Mendoza is discovered collaborating with a former Nazi scientist named Otto Kleiner in the mission Guadalicano Choo Choo. Kleiner is the man in charge of El Presidente's WMD program so Sheldon and Maria insist that he must be eliminated quickly. Kleiner is discovered aboard a military train carrying missile parts and Rico has to destroy it to force Kleiner out of hiding. When Kleiner does emerge, he quickly tries to escape in a Whiptail Gyrocopter, and after dozens of homing rockets, was killed by Rico.

In the mission Some Enchanted Evening, Mendoza is seen for the first time in a post-mission cut-scene. While attending the funeral of his sons, Luis and Tomaso, who had both been killed by Rico, the president was extremely furious, to the extent he bled when clenching his hand around his sunglasses.

In the mission Streets of Fire, Sheldon and Maria get word that Mendoza is planning to cut his losses and flee the country with a large sum of money from San Esperito's state bank, Banco Nacional. Rico heads over to the bank, steals the Black Hand truck, then burns everything inside.

In the mission Sink the Buccaneer, Mendoza makes his first physical appearance in the game, albeit very briefly. As Rico is preparing to attack El Presidente's destroyer, the Buccaneer, he and Sheldon catch a glimpse of Mendoza hastily taking off from the ship's deck in a helicopter because the alarms have sounded. Sheldon tells Rico that Mendoza is a low priority right now and that they'll get him next time. The ship is then destroyed.

In the mission Taking Out The Garbage, it is Rico's sole assignment to kill Mendoza and finally put an end to his ruthless dictatorship. Storming El Presidente's private island of Isla Dominio, Rico battles his way through hardened Black Hand troops with some help from the rebels and the Riojas. Mendoza boards another helicopter from the roof of his presidential palace and takes off with Rico in pursuit. In an attempt to shake Rico, Mendoza activates his nuclear missiles (3 in total) and triggers the launch sequence. The missiles cannot be stopped from the ground so Sheldon and Maria arrive on the island to help. They provide Rico with an Rage-Johnston F6 Comet and order him to shoot the missiles down at all costs.

While attempting to intercept, Rico is pursued by the Black Hand who have brought in their own fighter jets to stop him. The missiles are quickly taken out by Rico, who is unfazed by the fighter jets. Sheldon and Maria get wind that Mendoza is attempting to flee the country aboard his personal plane, the Excelsior. Rico pursues while being told that his only chance is to stunt jump from his plane to Mendoza's in order to get aboard. Fighting through several guards, he reaches the president and confronts him.

In their first (and only) confrontation, Mendoza sizes up Rico and adopts a "silly looking" martial arts stance. He then starts throwing kicks and chops at the air in front of him while stating "Señor I must warn you, I have seen 'Air Force One' at least six times, and I can assure you that on every occasion, the president won." Rico counters this by saying "You know, it didn't matter that he was the president. It's always the good guy who wins. And today, that's me."

Upon hearing these words, Mendoza realized that he cannot defeat Rico directly pauses for a slight moment and then hastily exits the plane with a parachute with Rico in hot pursuit. Determined not to let Mendoza escape, Rico goes into freefall and chases him through the air. Sheldon tells Rico to finish the job with planted explosives and so Rico catches up to Mendoza and slaps a timed explosive to the latter's back, setting the timer for about 10 seconds.

Mendoza desperately attempts to remove the bomb but doesn't have nearly enough time, so it blows him up. Afterwards, Sheldon jokes to Rico about how El Presidente had always wanted to be an "integral" part of his country. In a sense, Mendoza got his wish because there's a high probability "little pieces" of him will wash up on all of San Esperito's beaches.

Significant plot details end here.


  • Mendoza is the first main antagonist to employ the services of the Black Hand, although he would not be the last. The others are: Sebastiano Di Ravello and Oscar Espinosa.
  • In the mission I've Got the Power, it is discovered that Mendoza is in possession of nuclear weapons. The mission ends with Rico Rodriguez destroying a nuclear facility on the island of San Pedro causing it to explode. This scenario has at least two major controversies:
    • The confirmation of previously unknown nuclear capabilities means that Mendoza is now a nuclear terrorist. As displayed in the missions Love is in the Air and Taking Out The Garbage, he also seems perfectly willing to use his weapons against civilian populations and potentially kill thousands. For these reasons, it's rather strange that the United States doesn't attempt to respond to the development in purely diplomatic fashion by immediately pulling the plug on the The Agency's operations and then making efforts to defuse the crisis in the face of potential nuclear war with San Esperito.
    • Mendoza is implied to be either foolish or insane, as launching nuclear missiles seen in Taking Out The Garbage at the United States or any other nation would result in a retaliatory strike and have larger implications for the international community.
    • It's possible that Mendoza himself, and the nation of San Esperito, didn't actually possess nuclear weapons, and may have capabilities in development with another power, similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Of all the antagonists in the Just Cause Game Series, Salvador Mendoza is the most cowardly. As seen in the missions Sink the Buccaneer and Taking Out The Garbage, he always runs whenever there is trouble:
    • In his brief appearance during Sink the Buccaneer, Mendoza hastily leaves his ship, the Buccaneer, in a helicopter just as soon as the alarms go off.
    • In Taking Out The Garbage, Rico has to chase Mendoza from his presidential palace on Isla Dominio to the launch facility for his missiles, and then chase him again after the missiles are disabled and Mendoza has boarded his personal plane. When Rico sneaks aboard the plane, Mendoza hides in the back room and leaves the fighting to his Black Hand bodyguards. Even upon confrontation with Rico, Mendoza doesn't take long in deciding that he is no match and quickly exits the plane with a parachute. Naturally, this ends up being a fatal mistake, as Rico kills him anyways.
  • Salvador Mendoza appears to be largely inspired by Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic for much of the early-to-mid 20th century; Trujillo was notorious for his suppression of human rights, anti-leftist policies, cult of personality, and racism.
    • Both dictators had a dislike of the United States; in-game, Mendoza openly denounces the United States and accuses them of helping leftist guerrillas, while Trujillo had an uneasy relationship with the United States at best, with relations deteriorating to the point where the CIA may have assisted his assassination.
  • Mendoza is mentioned in the introduction of Just Cause 4 by Gabriela Morales, leader of the Black Hand. As she is briefing her employer, Oscar Espinosa, about the threat of Rico Rodriguez, Gabriela tells him that Mendoza was one of the Black Hand's former employers as well as one of the many heads of state Rico deposed over the course of his career.
  • Mendoza is also a major city in Argentina, South America. Mendoza leads a country in South America/Central America, which is San Esperito. It is not known if this is just a coincident or inspiration for Salvador Mendoza's name.
  • Mendoza is also the name of a town in Just Cause 4.
  • His white uniform and hair resemble those of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a former ruler of Iran.