Hector Salamanca (also known as Don Hector and referred to as Tío by his nephews) is the elderly don of the Cartel and an associate of cartel boss Don Eladio Vuente and don Juan Bolsa. A member of the Salamanca family, Hector is the son of Abuelita, the uncle of twins Marco and Leonel, Lalo, and Tuco, and is the grandfather of Joaquin. He raised Tuco as a son and taught him and his other nephews that family is everything, living by the creed himself. He is the second Salamanca family member to run their drug operation, following his nephew Tuco, and was succeeded by his nephew Lalo. Though brutal, Hector is very loyal to his family and the cartel.
Hector Salamanca was born in Mexico in 1939 and was one of the founding members of the Cartel and was referred to, even in his infirmity, as "Don Hector" by contemporary cartel leaders like Juan Bolsa. He was the most feared of the Dons and was the patriarch of the Salamanca family, being the uncle to Lalo, Tuco, Marco and Leonel. A flashback revealed that he was working for Don Eladio Vuente at the time Gustavo Fring made an overture toward the cartel circa 1989. Hector is seen discussing on the phone how the cartel should deal with Gus, whom he disparaged as the "Chicken Man," when he warned, "Never trust a South American." Shortly after this conversation, Hector teaches his nephews, Marco and Leonel, brutal life lessons such as "family is all" by nearly drowning Marco until Leonel punched him in the face. Don Eladio eventually elected to receive Gus and his partner, Max Arciniega, at his home to discuss a deal. Both Hector and Juan Bolsa are present at the meeting, the negotiation seems to be fine until Don Eladio mentions how Gus and Max disrespected the cartel by selling drugs to two henchmen in order to call Don's attention. As the duo does everything in their power to calm down Don Eladio, Hector shoots Max in the head in front of Gus. Then, as Juan Bolsa holds Gus down to the floor, both Don Eladio and Hector proceeded to taunt him, saying that his place is taking care of the chicken and not the drugs. Gus holds an enormous hatred for the cartel because of the incident, but mainly for Hector Salamanca because he was the one who pulled the trigger on his partner. Even after these events, Don Eladio eventually decided to accept Gus' request and allowed him to sell the cartel's products north of the Mexican border. During the mid-90s, Hector drops by Don Eladio's hacienda to deliver his tribute. He also reports on his expansion of the Salamanca business to the US, having bought an ice cream shop named after the cartel's fierce leader. Even though Hector is proud of his work, he is humiliated by Don Eladio when he sees the mascot of the ice cream shop, the bullying gets worse when Juan Bolsa arrives shortly after bringing Gus' significantly larger tribute. Don Eladio orders Hector to start following in Gus' footsteps, adding insult to injury. This causes Hector to become visually angry and jealous at Gus' easy success in quickly gaining the trust and favor of the Don of the cartel he has worked so hard for many years.