Raul Menendez is the sadistic, drug-dealing villain of Call of Duty: Black Ops. Strangely, he is also known as the “Messiah” in-game.
To really understand Raul Menendez, you have to know his story-the events that turned him into a man who became a messiah to billions.
In his early childhood, he watched the American-backed Contras brutalize his country.
Only one year later, his sister Josefina was horribly burned (and nearly died) in a warehouse fire. Sadly, the fire was originally set so that the owner-an American-could collect the 11,000 dollar insurance policy.
These early events are very significant to Raul Menendez’s future.
If these occurrences shaped his mind, then you could say what comes next shaped his life.
To survive, Raul Menendez and his father (Jose Menendez) needed to start over. Unfortunately, they turned to drug-dealing for the easy money. The violent side of Raul’s personality-illustrated by his habit of executing enemies by slitting their throats with his sister’s pendant-proved useful in this line of work.
This father and son team soon became “rich, powerful, legends of Managua.” In fact, a short story called Rightful King was written about this period of Menendez’s life (this will be VERY important later).
The Menendez cartel became powerful to the point of being untouchable-this notoriety attracted dangerous enemies. Soon, the CIA had Jose taken out in a U.S.-sanctioned assassination.
When speaking about Jose Menendez’s assassination, the scene does not mainly focus on him. We see a shot of money in a duffel bag:
A small shot of Jose’s face:
After Jose’s death, Raul was able to ruthlessly build his organization to the point where he could strike back at the nation that had, directly and indirectly, caused him so much pain- America. Thus, Menendez began smuggling guns to his private army in Afghanistan.
The first time the player personally encounters Menendez is during this period of his life.
In Pyrrhic Victory (the first mission of the campaign), Alex Mason (spoken about in our article Blueprint of the End) is trying to rescue his friend Frank Woods. We later find out that Woods is held captive by Raul Menendez himself. While trying to contact their allies for an extraction, Mason meets Menendez at a radio station.
At this moment, a band of Cuban soldiers marches in. Mason then takes Menendez hostage.
At this point, Menendez starts speaking to the soldiers in Spanish. Unfortunately, the game does not translate this for us. However, the great folks in the Call of Duty Wiki community have.
“El americano les esta diciendo que no se muevan. (The American is telling you not to move.)”
First of all, Mason quickly knocks the grenade out of Menendez’s hand.
Back to the fight:
- “Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel. And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days’ respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee.” (1 Samuel 11:1-3)
- “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)
In both of these passages, the right eye is seen being removed. In both cases, it is a sign of reproach, judgement, sin, etc. The third verse not only continues this trend, but sheds a great deal of light on this “messiah:”
- “Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” (Zechariah 11:17)
Notice the choice of the word “idol” instead of “idle (a false god instead of simply someone lazy).” The verse says that the sword shall be upon the right eye of the “idol shepherd,” and that his right eye will be “utterly darkened.”
Not only is Menendez’s right eye shot out, but as a replacement he uses a black, glass eye (so his right eye is quite literally, darkened).
Once we’ve identified Menendez as the “idol shepherd,” the question necessarily arises-Who is the idol shepherd? This brings us right back to the issue of Messiah.
The New Testament (along with the Old), shows that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, and the shepherd of his people (those who believe on and in him):
[Part of the conversation with “the Woman at the Well”] “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” (John 4:25-26)
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
We are also told that near the end, many false Christs-false shepherds-idol shepherds will come:
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:3-5)
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:24)
So, is it surprising that when Menendez is gaining global recognition as the “messiah,” and the plot of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 comes to a head, the mission is titled “Judgment Day?”
“And he [Jesus] said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.” (Luke 21:8)
This is only the beginning. Come back in the following months for more on Menendez, the Odysseus connection, and the Messiah.