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Gustavo... When I looked into your eyes... Hate. A little bit's okay. As long as you never forget who's boss.
― Eladio Vuente's warning to Gustavo Fring.[src]

Don Eladio Vuente is a Mexican drug lord and the Don of the Cartel. He founded it at some point in the 1970s alongside Juan Bolsa and Hector Salamanca.

History[]

Background information[]

Eladio Young

Image of Don Eladio in the DEA files.

Little is known of Don Eladio's past. He was one of the founding members of the Cartel alongside Juan Bolsa and Hector Salamanca and became the head of the organization. Eladio lived in a luxurious highly secured hacienda, which was funded by Hector.

In 1989, Don Eladio met with Gustavo Fring and his partner Maximino Arciniega, whom attempted to propose a business deal wherein they would produce methamphetamine for the cartel, which Eladio would then distribute. Eladio graciously complimented them on their chicken recipe and the conversation was civil for a time.

However, Don Eladio was unimpressed by their pitch, and felt disrespected that Gus sold meth samples to Eladio’s men before he approved this meeting. He then had Max executed by Hector for manipulating him into a meeting. However, he only spared Gus's life due to his currently unrevealed past in Chile. As Don Eladio and his men forced Gus to watch as the blood dripped into the pool, Hector warned him to keep his business restricted to chicken. ("Hermanos")

At some time in the ensuing few years, he entered into a partnership with Gus, who served as one of the Cartel’s top distributors in the American Southwest.

Better Call Saul[]

Season 3[]

In a flashback to 1999, Don Eladio is shown to have a cruel taunting sense of humor when dealing with his immediate subordinates and shows bias in favour of Gus when he brings a much better stash of cash than Hector, much to the latter's badly concealed fury. ("Sabrosito")

After Hector’s supply line from New Mexico is raided by the DEA, a new temporary arrangement is made by Hector to have Gus’s trucks bring their product over the border. The arrangement is so successful that Don Eladio ultimately decides the cartel will use Gus' vehicles across the border as opposed to Hector's. Hector is enraged by this, and during a meeting with Bolsa and Gus, he shows his resentment for Eladio due to being stepped over from becoming boss of the cartel, as his family played the largest role in building the cartel. Hector ultimately suffers a heart attack that renders him an invalid. ("Lantern")

Season 5[]

Lalo Salamanca takes Nacho Varga to meet with Don Eladio at his home in Mexico, giving the cartel boss a new car as a gift. Don Eladio is surprised to learn that Nacho is a friend of Tuco, humorously asking if Nacho is alright in the head. Don Eladio and Nacho discuss Nacho's plans for the cartel's business in Albuquerque and Nacho admits that he wants to be his own boss and not to have to look over his shoulder all the time. Though Don Eladio points out that he's in the wrong business for that, he respects and likes Nacho and his plans. ("Something Unforgivable")

Season 6[]

The following day, it is revealed to Eladio that Nacho was working against the Cartel with an unknown individual, which seemingly led to Lalo being killed in an assassination. Angered at this, Eladio put a price on Nacho's head, which lead to him being pursued by all Cartel soldiers, including Marco and Leonel Salamanca. In reality, however, Lalo faked his death using a body double, something no one but Hector, Gus and Mike are aware of. Said "unknown individual" also happens to be Gus, who wants Lalo dead for messing with his business. ("Wine and Roses")

In an Albuquerque sewer, Lalo recorded a video message for Eladio, revealing what he's learned from Casper: Gus had used Werner Ziegler to build the "mother of all meth labs" beneath the laundry. Lalo intends to storm the laundry that and kill all of Gus's guards, then he can present proof for Eladio that any cover story put forth by Gus will not refute. ("Plan and Execution")

After holding Gus at gunpoint in the superlab, Lalo records a video for Eladio on his camcorder. Gus is forced to lead him into the secret excavation beneath the laundry. There, Gus addresses Eladio himself, angrily denouncing the Cartel and vowing to kill off the Salamanca family before Hector dies. He uses his feet to disconnect a power cable and plunge the excavation into darkness. Retrieving the gun he had previously hidden, Gus engages in a shootout with Lalo until he runs out of bullets. Turning on the lights of an excavator, he discovers that Lalo has been shot in the throat; Lalo dies with a smile on his face. ("Point and Shoot")

Following Lalo's death, Hector contacted Eladio explaining how Lalo survived and due to his sudden disappearance that Gus had killed him. In response, Eladio calls a meeting at his hacienda with Hector, Gus, Marco and Leonel, and Juan. After Gus hears the claims against him, Eladio asks for his response. Gus declines to respond, stating that such ridiculous ideas do not warrant an explanation. Eladio inquires about Hector's phone calls with Lalo, none of which were witnessed by the Twins, casting doubt on the authenticity of the calls. This was backed up by Lalo's ploy to fake his own death inadvertently backfiring as the Twins personally identified the albeit severely burned body as Lalo, apparently confirmed by his dental records. Furthermore, Nacho's confession that he was on the payroll of the Peruvian cartel, Los Odios, who supposedly attacked Lalo's home, apparently verified by bank statements showing he'd taken their money, concealed Gus' manipulation of Nacho. Eladio was quietly satisfied that Lalo was killed in the attack on his home and that Gus had no involvement, effectively dismissing Hector's accusation. This leads Hector to throw a fit and repeatedly ring his bell, and Eladio appeases him by allowing Hector to sleep in the master bedroom and sending women to attend to him. Eladio privately tells Gus that the New Mexico territories will be divided between the Salamancas and Gus. Before he goes to bed, Eladio mentions that he can see the hate in Gus's eyes towards the heads of the Cartel. He lets this slide but reminds Gus that only a little hate is permissible, as in their business, it is not required to be friends with one another, but only to cooperate. He subtly reminds him who is in charge and tells Gustavo in that way that although he may hate his boss, the hierarchy still dictates Eladio is on top. ("Fun and Games")

Breaking Bad[]

Season 4[]

Nearly five years later in 2009, Don Eladio's cartel and Gus Fring's meth empire suddenly clashed. The situation began after the deaths of Bolsa and the Salamanca Twins. It escalated as Don Eladio ordered his men to hijack several of Gus's Los Pollos Hermanos trucks, in which bags of meth were stored in certain fry batter tubs. ("Bullet Points") It isn't made clear whether or not Eladio knows of Gus' role in the elimination of both Bolsa and the Twins.

Finally, Eladio sent his chief enforcer Gaff to meet with Gus on the Los Pollos Hermanos Factory Farm with an ultimatum: Give up the formula of the product Gus is selling, the pure "Blue Sky" meth. Gus at first rejected, but Gaff started to harass his business, including using a sniper to kill one of Gus's henchman and ultimately forcing him to accept the offer. ("Bug")

Breaking-bad-salud

Gus and Don Eladio.

Gus, Mike Ehrmantraut, and Jesse flew to Mexico to have Jesse cook the signature blue meth for the Cartel's superlab, run by Benicio Fuentes. After Jesse successfully cooks a very pure batch on his own for the Cartel, Don Eladio brings them to his house at the same place Max Arciniega, Gus' former business partner, was killed. Eladio hugs Gus, and expresses his happiness to have renewed their partnership. Gus introduces Eladio to Jesse, and makes fun of how Jesse doesn’t understand Spanish. A jealous Benicio comments that Jesse is no chemist, but Eladio puts him in his place by reminding him that Jesse cooked better meth than he ever did, and he doesn’t care if he’s a chemist or not.

As a token of respect for the renewed business relationship, Gus brings Don Eladio a gift of incredibly fine tequila Zafiro Añejo, which the entire cartel drinks after Gus takes the first shot. Unbeknowst to them, the tequila is poisoned and they celebrate while Gus asks to use the bathroom and is escorted by Eladio's bodyguard Miguel to the bathroom inside. Gus forces himself to regurgitate the drink (he had already taken a capsule to prevent the major effects of the poison before arriving at the hacienda).

Don Eladio

Don Eladio wishes Gus "salud".

Outside by the pool, Don Eladio witnesses Benicio and at least nine of his capos dropping dead, and he himself is suffering from the effects of the poison. Gaff is garroted by Mike as the butlers and prostitutes start fleeing in panic. Gus steps over Miguel's corpse, and comes outside to see the results of his massacre. He stands before Don Eladio, who tries in vain to attack Gus but the poison weakens him so much his legs give way and he falls unconscious into the pool, and drowns. Mike then takes Don Eladio's nazar necklace from his corpse and, after Jesse kills Joaquin Salamanca, the three manage to escape the hacienda. ("Salud")

Eladio Dead

Eladio's body floating in the pool.

Gus and Jesse go to Casa Tranquila where they visit Hector, whom Gus frequently harasses and taunts about the deaths of his family and friends from the cartel, owing to the fact that it was Hector who, on Don Eladio's orders, shot Gus' partner Max twenty years ago. During the meeting between the two enemies, Gus puts Don Eladio's necklace in Hector' pocket and lets him know of the deaths of Don Eladio, all the cartel capos and Hector's grandson Joaquin, whom Jesse killed during their escape from Don Eladio's hacienda. After introducing Hector's grandson's killer to Hector, both men leave Hector, who cries in anger and is devastated, as all of his friends and relatives are dead and he is completely alone and helpless. ("Crawl Space")

Don Eladio's death, as well as the deaths of all his capos, would ultimately be avenged by Hector, who with the aid of Walter White, killed Gus by suicide bombing after luring him into a trap, leading to the destruction of his own drug empire as well. ("Face Off")

Season 5[]

A photo of Don Eladio is shown on the DEA evidence board mapping Gus's drug empire. On his card, the DEA wrote that he had a "suspected connection to Fring operation, possibly related to recent violence in New Mexico." ("Say My Name")

When Hank Schrader is going through evidence that related to Heisenberg after he became suspicious of his brother-in-law, Hank pulls out a photo of Don Eladio out of one of the boxes. ("Blood Money")

Personality and traits[]

"You. Businessman. Why should I negotiate with someone who doesn't respect me? Who insults me by dealing under my nose without my permission? Who manipulates me into a meeting in front of my own men? What do I need you for?"
―Eladio during his meeting with Gustavo Fring and Max Arciniega[src]
Don-eladio-ding

Eladio mocking Hector.

Eladio Vuente was charismatic, but also displayed narcissistic and sociopathic traits. He seemed to be a blend of his two closest associates, sharing Juan Bolsa's intelligence, greediness, and opportunism; and Hector Salamanca's wrath and brutality. A natural-born leader, Eladio is an expert talker and manipulator, subtly setting his lieutenants against one another to prevent any of them from forming an alliance or taking over. His favorite method to keep hold of the Cartel so far is to require each of his lieutenants to bring a monetary tribute to him, favoring the one who brings him the most money and demeaning all the others. Thus, Eladio was very controlling, and impeding in his affairs, even for the good of both parties, was by far the worst way to offend him.

Eladio generally appears friendly to his underlings and associates but also feigns courtesy towards anyone who betrayed or provoked him in any way before suddenly turning angry and ordering one of his men to murder his offender, if not worse. Thus, Eladio is very unpredictable, which forces his associates, including his closest ones, to remain on edge at all times around him, fearing to earn Eladio's wrath without even knowing it. Eladio was also merciless, only sparing Gustavo Fring due to his mysterious history.

Eladio displayed some sadism when ordering Hector to kill Max Arciniega, smiling heavily at Gus' despair. Also, Eladio often belittles, if not outright bullies his cartel associates, going as far as to mock Hector in his face, later also mocking Hector by doing an impression of Hector ringing his bell. He's also very intimidating towards his minions and threatens to cut the hand of the man serving Gus' tequila if he even drops one spill of it on the ground.

Besides handling the Cartel's affairs and manipulating his associates, Eladio remains most of his time at his villa, enjoying swimming and partying with his men and escorts. Eladio also greatly enjoys showmanship in the forms of unusual gifts, as long as they are of value, such as Lalo Salamanca's car, with another tribute in the trunk.

Despite his cruel and controlling persona, Eladio displayed some standards at times. He chastises his cook chief, a diplomate chemist, for his poor performance compared to Jesse Pinkman. He also seems to be disturbed by Tuco Salamanca, asking Nacho Varga if he's okay in the head once he realizes they once worked together.

Deaths[]

Murders connected to Eladio[]

  • Max Arciniega: Shot once in the head by Hector Salamanca on Don Eladio's orders. ("Hermanos")
  • Los Pollos driver #1: Shot to death by two unnamed assassins. ("Bullet Points")
  • Los Pollos driver #2: Shot to death by Gaff and two unnamed assassins. ("Cornered")
  • Two Los Pollos guards: Suffocated by exhaust by Gaff and two unnamed assassins. ("Cornered")
  • Nick: Shot with a sniper rifle by Gaff. ("Bug")

Deaths connected to Eladio[]

  • Nacho Varga: After being made aware that Nacho was involved in the assassination attempt against Lalo, Eladio put a price on Nacho's head, which led to him being pursued by all Cartel members. This ultimately resulted in Nacho committing suicide so he could go out on his own terms. ("Rock and Hard Place")

Quotes[]

Better Call Saul[]

Eladio: "Did you witness these phone calls from Lalo? (The Cousins move their heads denying it) I was told you saw Lalo's body."
The Cousins: "Yes. It was burned."
―Eladio trying to understand Lalo's whereabout.[src]
Eladio: "Didn't the federales check the teeth?"
Bolsa: "Yes, Don Eladio. My brother tells me the dental records matched."
Eladio: "And that rat, Varga. What did he say before he died?"
Bolsa: "He said he was in the pay of the Peruvians, Los Odios. We know he took their money, we found bank statements."
―Eladio discussing with Bolsa about Lalo and Nacho.[src]
"Gustavo... When I looked into your eyes... Hate. A little bit's okay. As long as you never forget who's boss."
―Eladio's warning to Gustavo Fring.[src]


Breaking Bad[]

"You. Businessman. Why should I negotiate with someone who doesn't respect me? Who insults me by dealing under my nose without my permission? Who manipulates me into a meeting in front of my own men? What do I need you for?"
―Eladio during his meeting with Gus and Max.[src]

"Listen to me. The only reason you are alive and he is not...is because I know who you are. But understand. You are not in Chile anymore."
―Eladio to Gus after having Max killed.[src]

"Gustavo, cheer up, man. Gustavo, I'm not angry. I had to spank you. But what choice did I have? Look, once every 20 years you forget your place. There's no place for emotion in this. You of all people should understand. Business is business."
―Eladio's humiliating advice to Gus.[src]

"You!?"
―Eladio's last words.[src]


Appearances[]

Better Call Saul[]

Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6

Breaking Bad[]

Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5A
Season 5B

Trivia[]

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