President Hector Lopez is the fictional president of Isthmus in Central America and a political pawn of the Sanchez Cartel. The character appears in the 1989 James Bond film Licence to Kill, portrayed by Pedro Armendáriz, Jr., and was fleshed out in John Gardner's accompanying novelization.
The president of the Central American state of Isthmus, Lopez and many other high-ranking figures were bribed and intimidated into becoming thralls of drug baron Franz Sanchez and his cartel. The puppet regime helped Sanchez to maintain a legitimate image in the international community (but barely) and placed many of the country's resources at his disposal. It is evident Lopez is unhappy with his presidency, but Sanchez has tolerated him for the time being. Lopez is first seen meeting with Sanchez at the Casino de Isthmus, complaining that his bribe was only half its usual amount. Sanchez coldly reminds Lopez of his silence during the drug lord's incarceration in the United States and states that he is only "president for life".
Following Sanchez's death and the collapse of his cartel, Lopez is later seen at a party in Sanchez's residence. There James Bond sets him up as a couple with the drug lord's former mistress, Lupe Lamora. From Bond's casual reference to him as 'el Presidente', it is implied that Lopez continued as president of Isthmus. While the film leaves the question of Isthmus' future open to interpretation, John Gardner's novelization ends with a bloodless coup. President Lopez has resigned, and most of his government with him, and a dissident faction led by Captain Simon Rojas takes over responsibility for governing Isthmus. Hopeful for an end to corruption, Rojas did not seem to wish any ill on the politicians who had been under Sanchez’s control; noting that "before he tried politics he was a pretty fair lawyer" and blaming his fall on greed. Hector Lopez, now the former presidente, asks Lupe to marry him. After talking with Bond, she consents to the proposal; citing his wealth and her need for safety, rather than love.
Behind the scenes
The role of Hector Lopez was played by Pedro Armendáriz, Jr., the son of Pedro Armendáriz, who portrayed Ali Kerim Bey in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love. Additional scenes of the President arriving at the Casino de Isthmus, publicly greeting the recently liberated Franz Sanchez on television, were cut from the film's theatrical release. Notably, trailer clips of Bond extracting his pistol from a trick drinking flask were taken from this deleted footage.