|“||Vaya con Dios.||„|
|~ Colonel Ernesto Bella, after sparing Jed and Matt. It means "Go with God" in Spanish.|
Colonel Ernesto Bella is the main antagonist of the 1984 war film Red Dawn. He is a Cuban military commander who invades the United States and comes into conflict with the U.S. military as well as the Wolverines, heroic teenage refugees who fight his forces using guerrilla tactics. Unlike his Russian allies, such as Colonel Strelnikov and General Bratchenko, he sympathizes with the Wolverines, as he is seen comparing them to his younger self during the Cuban revolution. He is also the only antagonist in Red Dawn who survives the events of the film, though it is unknown whether he is captured or killed in the film's aftermath.
Colonel Bella most likely started out as a Cuban revolutionary in support of Fidel Castro (in an alternate timeline), and later supported guerrillas in Nicaragua and Mexico. By 1984, he was an elite Cuban commander, and was among the officers chosen to command the Soviet Union's invasion forces in the midwestern United States. In particular, he was commanding occupying forces in Calumet, Colorado, when he discovered a Russian patrol dead. In the following months, the fighters calling themselves the Wolverines would continue to use guerrilla tactics against the occupying Russians, Cubans,and Nicaraguans, to the point where they were becoming a constant threat to Bella's forces. Eventually, Bella's commanding officer, the Russian General Bratchenko, called for reinforcements, who were led by expert strategist Colonel Strelnikov. As Strelnikov gradually gained an edge against the Wolverines, killing many of them in the process, the Wolverines sent members Danny and Erica to U.S. territory while members Jed, Matt, and Robert launched a final attack on the Calumet occupation. That night, Bella sent a letter to his wife, telling her that he will resign and return to her rather than continue fighting. After Bratchenko and Strelnikov were killed in the Wolverine assault, Bella had an opportunity to kill Jed and Matt, but spared them, knowing they were going to die anyway.