A seasoned Costaguana statesman, Don José is a friend and neighbor of the Goulds and remains active in the political life of his country long after his official diplomatic career is over. He has written a manuscript about Costaguana's history called "Fifty Years of Misrule," which he was reluctant to publish (probably because the political landscape was as volatile as a baking soda and vinegar science experiment). Like Doctor Monygham, he was imprisoned and brutalized under Guzmán Bento, but he refuses to talk much about that time. We're left to assume the worst.
Toward the end of the novel, he can't really withstand all the political upheavals and changes in loyalties/alliances that come about as a result, falling ill and dying in the woods of Los Hatos, where his daughter, Antonia, had decided to travel to help out with the resistance efforts.