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Juan Cortez

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Colonel Juan García Cortez is a character in Grand Theft Auto series who appears in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as a main character.

Cortez is a retired colonel from a Central American country. He is the father of Mercedes Cortez.

He is a parody of Manuel Noriega, the military dictator of Panama and a major drug trafficker during the 1980s. He is voiced by Robert Davi, who also parodied Noriega as the antagonist of the James Bond film Licence To Kill (the first reference to that series since Grand Theft Auto: London 1969). He might also be a parody of Alejandro Sosa from Scarface.


Early Life

Juan Cortez was born in Central America. During his time in his home country, he survived thirty coups and nine death sentences, always managing to survive and get promoted. Cortez has a disliking of the French and accuses them of hypocrisy for stealing from poor nations for centuries. Cortez had his daughter Mercedes and is a widower. At some point, he became heavily involved in drug trafficking.


Cortez began his business interests in the United States by sending Gonzalez, his right hand man, as a representative in drug deals. Gonzalez stole some of Cortez' drugs to sell for a side profit, though he is more or less forgiven by Cortez and allied drug lord Ricardo Diaz (who threatens to kill Gonzales if he does not begin to tell Diaz about Cortez' future drug deals in the city). Cortez moved from his home country to Vice City by 1986, where he mainly lived on a large yacht. GTA Vice City's promotional website reveals that he is officially a cultural attaché "encouraging trade and improving our standing" between their countries, providing him a cover for his drug operations. He tells his countrymen that while he would rather be at his vineyard celebrating with them, "it is my curse to live in luxury in the United States" because he is serving a patriotic duty. He also reveals that aside from his yacht, he has a luxury villa in Vice City that his people pay for. The police have bugged it, which is probably why he lives on his yacht, also saying later that the yacht allows him to quickly relocate if he gets in too much trouble. Cortez is allowed leniency with the law because of diplomatic immunity, and also enjoys eating endangered species (for example, shark or tapia snout), considering it fine living.

Cortez enjoyed throwing parties on his yacht, which attracted very famous football players, rock stars and even politicians. After organizing a seemingly routine drug deal between Forelli mob members and the Vance brothers, it was ambushed with both $2 million and 20 kilos of cocaine stolen. Cortez meets the Forellis' representative, Tommy Vercetti, at one of his parties and begins trying to track down the thief. They begin by killing Gonzales, who had been telling too many people about the deal in the first place. He also recruits Vercetti's help to steal missile technology chips from the French government. Tommy meets Ricardo Diaz when he is sent to protect him, and later works for him as well, beginning to suspect that Diaz ambushed the deal.

When Cortez sees Tommy next, they share their suspicion that Diaz was responsible, though Cortez does not outright accuse Diaz because he considers him a "dangerous man". Cortez asks Tommy to steal a tank from a US military convoy and protect him from the French government while he takes his yacht out of the country. They say their goodbyes as close friends, Cortez giving Tommy a speedboat to return to shore, and asking him to look out for his daughter Mercedes.

In a month or two, Cortez calls Tommy (who had since killed Diaz and Forelli to become a powerful drug baron in his own right) fearing that she wanted to become a lawyer, which would bring shame to their family. Tommy reassures him that she definitely did not want to be a lawyer. Tommy did not tell Cortez that he had since allowed her to sleep with rock star Jezz Torrent and appear in a pornographic Steve Scott film alongside Candy Suxxx (ironically all three, Mercedes and Tommy were guests at a single one of his parties). In the same phone call, Cortez tells Tommy that he is in his home country and that the new minister of the interior whose father Cortez killed in a failed coup had arrived, so he needs to be polite to him. In another one of his phone calls, which was deleted from the game, Cortez tells Tommy that he fought in three revolutions, being promoted each time.

VCPD Crime Tree Record

  • Cultural Attache
  • Has diplomatic immunity - bear this in mind when bugging his house.
  • Has somehow survived up to 30 coups in his native country.
  • Likes to eat endangered species. Considers this to be fine living.
  • Lives with daughter. Widower.
  • Long term dislike for French secret service.
  • Believed to facilitate trade in all areas of criminal activities, including, but not limited to, narcotics, firearms, weapons and military secrets.
  • In his own country, has been sentenced to death 9 times, but always survives and gets promoted.

Mission appearances

GTA Vice City


  • In GTA San Andreas, there is an announcement on WCTR News in the early segments of the game that a former Latin American Dictator said that a government agency was supplying him with drugs. The Dictator might be Cortez, and the supplier might be Toreno, since he mentioned to Carl that he is "supplying overseas dictators and useful drug suppliers".
  • Colonel Cortez's name maybe a reference to Felix Cortez, a character and primary antagonist from Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger. Both Cortezs are major drug smugglers and former colonels. Felix also uses the pseudonym of "Juan Diaz" which may refer to Ricardo Diaz.
  • Toreno mentioned he has agents and operations in Panama, probably connected with Cortez.
  • The character may also be a parody of "General Juan Domingo Peron" , better known as the husband of "Evita Peron".  There are a couple of reasons to suspect this. 
    • They share a lot of traits in common, including:  that both are usually referred to by their title (General/Coronel), both widowed (Evita died long before Juan Domingo), promoted after being arrested during a coup (Peron used to be minister of war and work, he was arrested for a short-time, then liberated, and less than a year later elected for president).
    • Physical appearance resemblance. (Peron photo here).
    • Juan Cortez mentions the "Pampa's breeze", being a very notorious wind in Argentina, but not notorious enough to be mention by a Central America dictator.



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