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Colonel Stuart and General Esperanza

General Esperanza & Colonel Stuart signing documents

""Two months of planning, and you can't anticipate one pendejo of a cop.""
―Ramon Esperanza

General Ramon Esperanza was a evil South American dictator and drug lord of the Republic of Val Verde. He is the secondary antagonist of Die Hard 2.

Anti-Communist Campaign and Fallout[]

Only two years prior to the events at Dulles (approx. Winter of 1988), Esperanza was a military dictator of the Republic of Val Verde. The General gained favor with the United States by leading his country's army in a campaign against communist insurgents. 

This military campaign was aided by American dollars and US military advisors. Colonel Stuart was instrumental in the signing and execution of the military pact between the parties. Complications arose when mounting evidence revealed that Esperanza had violated the neutrality of other bordering countries. Congress had no choice but to ban aid to the General. In an effort to recoup the lost monetary and military support, he is believed to have entered the drug trade, specifically in cocaine smuggling. Despite the aforementioned Congressional ban, high-ranking pentagon officials were later accused of having continued to arm the the military regime, causing a diplomatic black eye for the United States. Esperanza was deposed earlier in 1990 which was noted to have had a ripple effect on the country's forthcoming elections. The extradition agreement to transport him back to the US was reached on December 23rd, 1990. The following day, members of the US Department of Justice would be waiting for his arrival at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, likely to prosecute him for war crimes.

Esperanza was accused of atrocities in his home country, including but not limited to cocaine smuggling, racketeering, bribing of government officials and holding of numerous political prisoners over the past decade, including the soon-to-be, democratically elected president of Val Verde. Despite the allegations, the General retained many supporters locally and abroad.

Die Hard 2[]


On the morning of December 24th, 1990, Esperanza arrived at Escalon Airport in Val Verde, smiling and waving to the crowd of supporters before going aboard the plane. His demeanor and high spirits reflected the foreknowledge, that his supporter Colonel Stuart and his team of mercenaries were prepared to free him at Dulles by taking over the IAD tower's landing systems.  

Later, aboard Foreign Military One, after takeoff, he waited patiently as the time passed. He asked the guard to get the chains off him, but he refused to do so. He praised him for being a good soldier and asked him to light him a cigar. The guard cooperated. 

Sometime later, when they arrived in Dulles airspace, Esperanza strangled the guard to death with his own handcuffs and frees himself. Then he silently went to the cockpit and held the pilots at gunpoint. He convinced the pilot to land in runway 15. Then the co-pilot tries to fight Esperanza. But the general managed to kill him, although a stray bullet hits the cockpit, causing it to lose cabin pressure. He then killed the pilot, as he knew how to fly planes. He contacts Stuart on the encoded radio that was hidden in the cockpit about his situation and needs to land in an accessible runway, since he cannot land in runway 15, due to cabin pressure and blinding snowstorm. After Stuart tells Esperanza to land the plane at Runway 25R and sees the lights on there, he safely lands the plane himself.


As he was leaving the plane and happily feels that he is free, he was unexpectedly ambushed by hero cop John McClane. But then, Stuart and his men arrived and helped Esperanza get away. Although McClane killed Thompson and wounded Esperanza in the shoulder, he was pinned in the cockpit as the dictator got up and fired at him. Kahn went onboard and Esperanza tells him that McClane went into the cockpit. Esperanza was mildly in disbelief that his supporters didn't anticipate the cop trying to stop them as Kahn barricades McClane in the cockpit and escorts him outside with Stuart and Garber waiting for him. As the men fired at the cockpit and threw grenades at him, Esperanza sees that McClane escaped via the plane's ejection seat. They headed back to Highland Lake Community Church near the airport.


General Esperanza boarding his getaway plane.

At the church near the airport where the mercenaries set their makeshift airport control system, Esperanza's grazed shoulder was getting patched up by Burke as Stuart informed him that their escape plan is on schedule. Esperanza hopes that there won't be any more surprises. Then the tripwire alarms sounded, and Garber reported that Army Special Forces have arrived, Esperanza asked Stuart if there was problem and Stuart assures him that there is no problem, knowing that it's their fellow comrade Major Grant and his men who are posing as an anti-terrorist team sent to take out Stuart and his men. After staging a fake firefight with blanks and planting C4 on the airport equipment, Esperanza rides with Kahn on his snowmobile as they joined Stuart, Garber, Burke and Miller. But then McClane killed Burke and Garber and pursued them on the snowmobile. When they see McClane, Stuart and Kahn pulled over as Miller went after him as Esperanza stood by. He watches as Stuart and his men seemed to have finally killed McClane when his snowmobile exploded. They headed out of the scene.


General Esperanza

General Esperanza few moment before he was demise while piloting the Boeing 747 use by Esperanza, Stuart and his entourage to escape.

Afterwards, Esperanza listened as Stuart contacted Dulles tower and learns that the 747-cargo conversion plane is fueled and is placed in the remote Hangar 11. Then Major Grant contacted him, pretending to be their enemy, silently stating that he and his men will meet them in the plane. Esperanza was pleased that everything is going as planned. Later on, he waited in the plane as Grant and his men arrived. Grant congratulates Esperanza on his escape, and he tells Grant to save the celebration until they are safe in the tropics. After they went onboard, Esperanza took control of the plane as he was the only one who knew how to fly. As they we're about to take off, Esperanza noticed that the ailerons of the left wing were blocked by McClane's jacket, rending it unable to take off. Stuart and Grant go out to deal with it and Esperanza tells them to not shoot since the wing is fully fueled. Although McClane killed Grant, Stuart kicked him off the plane and removes the fire jacket, which allows Esperanza to let the jet take off. When McClane leaked the jet fuel and lit it on fire before the plane could successfully take off, Esperanza and every other terrorist on board were killed in the resulting explosion.


Die Hard Wiki has a collection of images related to Ramon Esperanza.


  • Of all the villains that appear in Die Hard 2, Esperanza (along with Colonel William Stuart and Sergeant Oswald Cochrane) is the only villain to have a full name as opposed to having a single name.
  • General Ramon Esperanza is inspired by some Latin American Dictators such as General Manuel Noriega of Panama and General Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay who were allies of the USA during the Cold War but were involved in the cocaine trade and became embarrassments for the United States. General Noriega was overthrown by the US and put on trial in the United States as Die Hard 2 went to theaters.
  • General Ramon Esperanza's military uniform bears a heavy similarity with the uniform of his inspirational character, General Manuel Noriega.
  • Esperanza's military background may have been from the Air Force or Military Aviation, due to Esperanza's flying skills and familiarity with aviation since he was seen many times flying an airplane, from the Foreign Military One plane that was used to fly Esperanza from Val Verde to United States to the Boeing 747 used as an escape plane by Esperanza, Stuart and their entourage.

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