Real Name: Hector Santiago

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Prison commandant; dictator of Rio De Muerte ("River of Death")

Group Membership: Leader of his own army

Affiliations: His prison guards

Enemies: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Felix Garcia, Man-Fish, Donna Maria Puentes, his unidentified prisoners

Known Relatives: Donna Maria Puentes (cousin)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: His prison, Rio De Muerte, Central America

First Appearance: Captain America I#206 (February, 1977)

Powers/Abilities: Having no paranormal abilities, the cruel and sadistic Santiago was the forceful commandant of a Central American prison, where he used the inmates as slave-labor. Although he commanded an army of prison guards, he was a coward in battle, and easily frightened when challenged by one with stronger willpower.

Santiago typically carried a pistol and a swagger stick; on one occasion, he used a flame-thrower.

Height: Unrevealed (6'; by approximation)
Weight: Unrevealed (170 lbs,; by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

(Captain America I#206 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Hector Santiago is largely unrevealed, but he eventually became the commandant of the Rio De Muerte prison in Central America. At some point, he hired his cousin Donna Maria Puentes to work in the prison's administrative office.

   Santiago used the inmates as slave-labor, and he periodically tortured them if they got out of line; because of his cruel and sadistic treatment of them, the prisoners called him "the Swine" behind his back -- Santiago hated that nickname so much that he executed anyone who dared to refer to him by it.

   At some point, prisoner Felix Garcia successfully escaped and fled to New York, so Santiago sent two of his guards on a mission to retrieve him.

(Captain America I#206) - On his birthday, Santiago had a banquet table full of food set up in his living quarters. When the guards brought two of his disorderly slaves to him, and he heard them beg for more food, Santiago presented the feast-laden table to one of the prisoners and told him to eat all that he liked. The starving slave voraciously ate until he was full, but Santiago forced him to continue consuming food, until the prisoner died from overeating -- the remaining inmate accused "the Swine" of killing his companion, so Santiago responded by shooting him for using that hated nickname. Following the two deaths, Santiago nonchalantly ordered his guards to remove the corpses, to have the room cleaned, and to have the table reset in time for dinner.

   Afterward, as Santiago inspected his prison yard, he came upon an exhausted slave who claimed he could no longer lift heavy stones. Santiago "mercifully" responded by giving the prisoner a lighter task -- he ordered him to push a small piece of fruit with his nose for 10 miles every day, and Santiago would return him to lifting boulders after a month. Santiago then met with his cousin Donna Maria, who was sunbathing in view of the guards and prisoners, something of which he disapproved. Donna Maria continued to irk Santiago, defying his orders in the hopes that one day someone would come who would defeat him.

(Captain America I#207) - Unable to capture Garcia, the two guards returned to Rio De Muerte with Captain America instead, intending for him to serve as Santiago's slave; but Cap escaped his captors and set out through the surrounding jungle. Santiago himself accompanied his men to hunt the hero, but after seeing Captain America defeat an entire team of guards, he became afraid and unable to shoot. But when Cap referred to him as "the Swine," he found his courage to fire, only to have Captain America block his shots with his shield; Cap then grabbed Santiago and left him strung up by his jacket-collar on a tree branch. Shortly afterward, when his guards came to rescue him, Santiago couldn't help but notice their suppressed smiles at his predicament; as the guards freed him from the branch, Santiago was enraged over his humiliation.

   When word of "the Swine's" embarrassing encounter with Captain America passed along the prison grapevine, the still-angered Santiago punished some of his inmates by having a red hot stove rolled into the prison area, further heating the already sweltering cells. He also had several other prisoners tortured, because they had dared to discuss the "lie" about his humiliation. Donna Maria witnessed Santiago's cruelty, and upon hearing how Captain America had humbled him, she hoped the hero would be the one to defeat her cousin.

(Captain America I#208) - In the jungle, Santiago again led a party of his men in pursuit of Captain America, and they eventually trapped the hero in a pit. Santiago then attempted to slay Cap with a flame-thrower, but Donna Maria intervened and threw her knife at him, knocking the weapon from his hand. Finally fed up with his cousin, Santiago threw her down to Captain America so that he could kill them both. But just as he prepared to roast them alive with his flame-thrower, Santiago was attacked by the Man-Fish, and the creature apparently tore him in half.

   When Captain America and Donna Maria made their way out of the pit, they found what appeared to be the partial remains of "the Swine" half-submerged in the waters of the Rio De Muerte.

Comments: Created by Jack Kirby.

Roger Stern and John Byrne intended to bring back the Swine in a Captain America story where he would have appeared alongside Arnim Zola and the Red Skull, but they wanted a 3 issue-long story to tell it in, which Jim Shooter was against at the time, and they wound up leaving the title before the story could be told. Byrne's first six pages can be seen in the Captain America: War and Remembrance trade paperback. In the opening pages, the Swine attempts to kill Captain America at an airport in England. Maybe some day Stern and Byrne will print the story? It would fit seamlessly into continuity, I'll wager.

Hector Santiago/the Swine would seem to be visually inspired by John Lennon. -- Ron Fredricks

Profile by Prime Eternal. Expansion by Ron Fredricks.

Hector Santiago/the Swine has no known connections to:

Rio De Muerte prison guards

An unspecified number of unidentified personnel, they ruthlessly watched over the inmates at Rio De Muerte prison in Central America. They also acted as prison commandant Hector Santiago's private army.

Santiago was an extremely cruel disciplinarian who used the prisoners as slave-labor, and the guards enforced his rule. Because of his sadistic treatment of them, the inmates referred to Santiago as "the Swine" -- although the guards displayed loyalty and respect to Santiago, and always addressed him as "Commandante" to his face, behind his back they also referred to him by that nickname.

The guards knew of the savage Man-Fish which dwelt in the waters of the Rio De Muerte, and they came to believe that the creature served their interests, because it had often helped prevent their prisoners from escaping.

When prisoner Felix Garcia successfully escaped, Santiago sent two of the guards to New York to retrieve him; but Garcia got away, so the guards brought back Captain America as a replacement, because they thought "the Swine" would enjoy breaking his spirit.

Captain America escaped into the surrounding jungle, so Santiago accompanied a team of his men to recapture the hero; but the guards were no match for Captain America's superior fighting skills, and after their defeat, Cap humiliated Santiago by hanging him by his jacket on a tree branch before he got away again.

After Santiago was freed by his guards, he alleviated his anger by torturing some of his prisoners, then he and his men continued their pursuit of Captain America. They finally had Cap trapped in a pit, but then the monstrous Man-Fish appeared and apparently killed "the Swine" and several of the guards.

The fate of the remaining guards is unrevealed.

--Captain America I#206 (Captain America I#206-208

Rio De Muerte prisoners

The inmates of a Central American prison (none identified), they were used as slave-labor by prison commandant Hector Santiago; because the sadistic Santiago routinely tortured them, they referred to him as "the Swine".

Although they hated "the Swine," their spirits were broken because of the harsh prison conditions, so none of them could summon the courage to rush Santiago and kill him.

Following the apparent deaths of Santiago and some of the guards at the hands of the Man-Fish, the fate of the prisoners is unrevealed.

--Captain America I#206 (Captain America I#206-207

Felix Garcia

Once incarcerated for an unspecified crime, he had been an inmate at Hector Santiago/the Swine's Rio De Muerte prison, where he was used as slave-labor. But Garcia somehow escaped and eventually made his way to New York, where he found employment as a waiter in a restaurant.

One night, Garcia was waiting a table where Steve Rogers (aka. Captain America), Sam Wilson (aka. the Falcon), Sharon Carter, and Leila Taylor were dining. But just as he was about to bring the group dessert, Garcia was confronted by a pair of armed men who were apparently Rio De Muerte guards sent to retrieve him. Refusing to return to the hellish prison, Garcia resisted arrest; witnessing the disturbance, Rogers and Wilson intervened and fought off the two men.

Felix Garcia apparently fled during the confrontation, and his current whereabouts are unrevealed.

However, the two men later followed Steve Rogers while he escorted Sharon Carter back to her apartment -- they used tranquilizer gas to render them unconscious, then kidnapped Rogers and transported him to Rio De Muerte as a replacement for Garcia.

--Captain America I#206

images: (without ads)
Captain America I#206, cover (Main Image - Hector Santiago/the Swine, striking a prisoner with his swagger stick)
Captain America I#207, p17, pan1 (Headshot - Hector Santiago/the Swine)
Captain America I#206, p17, pan3 (Hector Santiago/the Swine finds Donna Maria Puentes (right) sunbathing)
Captain America I#207, p10, pan2 (Hector Santiago/the Swine fires pistol at Captain America)
Captain America I#208, p14, pan6 (remains of Hector Santiago, after being attacked by Man-Fish; Captain America, Donna Maria Puentes (background))
Captain America I#206, p16, pan5 (three prison guards)
Captain America I#208, p5, pan5 (prison guards confront Captain America (foreground) and tell him about the Man-Fish)
Captain America I#206, p11, pan3 (Hector Santiago/the Swine (center) inspects prison yard)
Captain America I#206, p11, pan4 (prisoners talk about Hector Santiago/the Swine)
Captain America I#206, p7, pan1 (Felix Garcia; two Rio De Muerte prison guards in plain-clothes (background))

Captain America I#206 (February, 1977) - Jack Kirby (writer/pencils/editor), Frank Giacoia (inks), Petra Goldberg (colors), Jim Novak (letters), Archie Goodwin (consulting editor)
Captain America I#207 (March, 1977) - Jack Kirby (writer/pencils/editor), John Verpoorten (inks), George Roussos (colors), Jim Novak (letters), Archie Goodwin (consulting editor)
Captain America I#208 (April, 1977) - Jack Kirby (writer/pencils/editor), Frank Giacoia (inks), George Roussos (colors), Jim Novak (letters), Archie Goodwin (consulting editor)

First Posted: 07/07/2004
Last updated: 03/12/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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