|“||You would build a motorway that cuts through the heart of Belvedere Heights... through the house where my mother lives, through her kitchen, through the shops and the cannery that are our jobs, all so that you could drive to Pasadena with no stop signs. What, sir, would you say if I was to put a motorway through your kitchen?||”|
|— Raul to Councilman Townsend[src]|
Raul is the eldest son of the Vega family and a righteous union leader and advocate for his people.
Throughout the SeriesEdit
The Vega family celebrate Tiago becoming the first Chicano detective in the Los Angeles Police Department. Mateo and Josefina congratulate him and ask to see his badge. They are joined by Raul and toast in honor of "Detective Tiago fucking Vega."
Councilman Charlton Townsend holds a city council meeting. He announces that the transportation committee has voted in favor of construction of the Arroyo Seco motorway. The city council has approved the recommendation, and the municipal court has overturned the injunction. So construction will continue Monday morning as planned. He offers the public a chance to object. Raul speaks on behalf of multiple groups. He asks where they are supposed to go when the motorway destroys their homes. Charlton suggests that they go back to where they came from. However, much like Charlton, Raul was born in Los Angeles County Hospital. Charlton warns Raul that you can’t stand in the way of progress. However, Raul retorts that when progress becomes barbarity, it ceases to be in the public interest. He and his people refuse to leave and intend to fight for their home. Raul and his community proceed to make themselves heard, forcing Charlton to eject them.
Just outside of the record store, Raul tells Tiago how Mateo roughed up one of the customers who was hooking up with Josefina. Mateo joins them and reveals how Maria scolded him. Tiago then tries to convince Mateo to go to the Angels game on Monday as opposed to the protest led by Raul, who has a difference in opinion with Tiago. Raul tells him how the machines are in the empty lot across from the laundry, where they used to play Tom Mix. Tiago encourages Raul to keep Mateo out of it. However, Raul worries this is only the first step in a long thought out plan to have them all deported. Tiago warns Raul that if he goes against the cops, they’ll shoot them down. Raul places his hand on Tiago’s chest and asks where his heart is.
Monday morning. The Los Angeles Police Department stand on one side of the road and Raul, Mateo and the Belvedere Heights community stand on the other. Before long, Tiago arrives and walks into the street. He pleads with them to go home as there’s nothing they can do to stop the construction. However, Raul refuses to leave. Magda notices one young officer that’s exceptionally nervous. She whispers in his ear, sowing seeds of fear and uneasiness until he fires, killing one of the protesters. With that, a full blown riot breaks out as the community of Belvedere Heights attacks law enforcement. When a woman gets hurt, Raul and Mateo carry her to safety. Magda encourages Raul to fight back rather than tend to the wounded. So, he finds a gun and shoots multiple police officers. Raul shoots Lewis in the arm but before he can kill him, Tiago shoots him, and he falls to the ground almost instantly. As Tiago stands over Raul’s body, at the center of the blood shed, Magda and Santa Muerte stare each other down with only a few feet in between them.
Raul lays in the hospital bed at Los Angeles County Hospital with Maria, Mateo, and Josefina at his bedside. Raul is being kept alive through machines. The shot fired by Tiago glanced off his skull and caused bone fragments to shatter into Raul's brain. They are given three days before they have to remove him from the respirator. Later, Maria lights a candle and prays to Santa Muerte to save Raul. The candle blows out. Maria opens her eyes to discover that Raul is gone. She proceeds to follow the trail of blood. Unbeknownst to her, Santa Muerte is right behind her. Maria turns around and is startled by Raul, who has removed the bandage from around his head.
Mateo describes his encounter with Officer Reilly and Fly Rico in detail to a recovering Raul. Mateo describes Fly Rico as being smooth, comparable to Fred Astaire. Raul takes Mateo’s sudden fascination with Fly Rico to mean that he now wants to join the Pachucos. Mateo admires their pride, but Raul isn’t as won over, mentioning that the Pachucos didn’t even bother to join them during the riot. Mateo then asks Raul if he remembers anything from the protest, but he can’t recall. Mateo reveals to Raul that Tiago shot him. He goes on to tell Raul how he killed several cops. Mateo then says that if he was a Pachuco, he would slit Tiago’s throat for what he did. Raul comes to Tiago’s defense, not only reminding Mateo that they’re brothers, but that Tiago’s lost in between two worlds. Raul then proceeds to encourage Mateo to join the Pachucos. Tiago then enters Raul’s room and takes a seat at his bedside. When Tiago asks Raul how he’s doing, Raul places Tiago’s hand on his chest.
At the Vega house, as Maria prepares dinner, Tiago tells Raul about his complicated relationship with Sister Molly. Just from Tiago’s description, Raul presumes that his brother's dating a white woman. He jokes that gringas are crazy and that Tiago should give up the idea of having a family because they don’t want to ruin their figure. Tiago and Raul join their mother in the kitchen, where Raul tells her about Tiago dating a gringa. Mateo and Josefina arrive with the groceries. Maria notices the bandage on Mateo’s hand and rips it off to discover the Pachuco mark. Maria is enraged and ashamed, but Mateo is proud of his mark. He refuses to end up like his mother, being a maid or his brother, a cop. Mateo exclaims that he’s tired of being weak and storms out. Maria follows him out the door.
Tiago and Lewis question Raul. He’s heard about Reilly’s death over the radio. He wonders why they aren’t out looking for the killer. Tiago needs to know Fly Rico’s whereabouts. Lewis realizes that Raul won’t speak freely in front of him and offers to go for a walk. Maria joins them and Tiago suggests that she introduce Lewis to Santa Muerte.
Raul sits on the couch, listening to the radio when his mother returns home from work. She asks about Josefina, who Raul tells her is in her room. Maria heads into the kitchen and looks at the ivory handle set from her grandfather. She takes it out and cooks dinner. She exits the kitchen and finds Josefina in the living room with Raul, about to leave. She has bible study with the Temple. Maria knows enough about that place to not trust it, but Josefina has put all her faith into it. When Maria asks Josefina if she’s no longer Catholic, Josefina asks her the same question in return, reminding her mother that when she is in need, she prays to Santa Muerte. Before leaving, Josefina adds that Sister Molly is just as important to her as Santa Muerte is to Maria. Maria blames Raul for not intervening and talking some sense to Josefina. He used to fight for his family, but all he does now is sit around.
Raul sits across from the construction site. He argues that there may be good to come from the motorway. Maria worries it’ll kill the neighborhood. Not that it matters. They’re moving the motorway to the canyons. Raul then asks about work. Maria tells him that the house is cursed. She tried to help, but she doesn’t know what to do anymore. She’ll pray tomorrow. Raul has been contemplating going back to work. Ever since the hospital, Raul says that nothing feels the same. It’s as if he now has purpose, but he doesn’t know what it is. Maria changes the subject. She tells Raul that she wants to go out for a night on the town.
Raul and Maria arrive at the Crimson Cat and take to the dance floor. They bump into Josefina and grab a table. Raul complements her new red hair. Josefina tells them that she’s happy at the Temple and hopes that her family can accept that.
Mateo arrives and greets Josefina with a hug. Fly Rico takes a liking to her and asks her to dance. Mateo tries to give Maria a kiss but she pulls away. Raul tells Mateo that he’s a joke. Rio retorts that he’s a man now. While he may be dressed like a man, Maria says that he’s still a boy. A real man stays home and helps out his family with pride. Mateo believes that they all find their pride in different ways.
Tiago arrives with Molly to Maria and Raul, who tells tales of their past. He claims that Tiago is a natural born liar. Whenever something got broke, "little innocent Tiago" was never to blame. Maria adds that he was a good boy. Maria then asks how they met. Tiago reveals that they met while he was working a case and that she’s in public service. Maria asks if she’s a teacher. Molly replies that she’s partially correct. Raul then warns Molly that Maria is very protective of Tiago, who leaves to get drinks.
Raul has been sharing with Molly stories of their past. Molly is jealous. She’s never had any brothers or sisters and always wanted to be part of a big family. Maria then realizes that Molly is Sister Molly. She blames Molly for taking Tiago and Josefina from her. Tiago tells his mother to sit down and show her some respect. Josefina and Mateo join them. Raul separates Mateo and Tiago as they go back and forth. Maria blames Tiago for dividing the family. Tiago demands they show him and Molly some respect. Maria laughs and tells Tiago that he should have been a priest. Mateo looks to Molly and says that maybe she’s the priest. Tiago suggests that they start over and introduces Molly to everyone. Maria accepts Tiago’s passion for Molly, as he’s her soul, as are her other children. Molly promises she wouldn’t do anything to hurt Tiago or Josefina. Tiago then takes Molly to dance as Raul partners with Josefina, and Mateo with Maria.
Tiago tells Raul to take Maria and Josefina home. He later plays card with Brian and afterward, plays the guitar.
Maria, Mateo, Raul, and Josefina gather in the cemetery to celebrate Day of the Dead. Tiago arrives late, still mourning the death of Molly. Maria hugs him and they dance in the cemetery. The following day, she and Raul watch as destruction of Belvedere Heights has commenced.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
Raul is an older Mexican man with dark brown eyes and black hair.
- Santa Muerte
- Dead People Lie Down
- Wicked Old World
- Josefina and the Holy Spirit
- Children of the Royal Sun
- Maria and the Beast
- Sing, Sing, Sing
- Day of the Dead
- "You would build a motorway that cuts through the heart of Belvedere Heights... through the house where my mother lives, through her kitchen, through the shops and the cannery that are our jobs, all so that you could drive to Pasadena with no stop signs. What, sir, would you say if I was to put a motorway through your kitchen?"
- —Raul to Councilman Townsend[src]
- "I'd rather be any fucking thing in this world than Tiago. He's not one of us. He's not one of them. He's a cop. He's a Chicano. He doesn't know what the fuck he is. You want to see hell, mano? You look in his eyes... And you be kind."
- —Raul to Mateo[src]