By Eamonn Burke
A boycott of Goya foods, a major producer of beans and an essential good for many families, has launched after its CEO Robert Unanue praised President Trump in a speech at the White House on Thursday:
“We are all truly blessed … to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,” said Unanue.
Immediately, many prominent Hispanic figures such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced Goya and Unanue, and hinted in a tweet she would boycott the company. Julian Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development Secretary, urged people do to the same despite the prominence of Goya in Latin American homes. The resistance comes from the public as well, as the hashtags #boycottGoya and #Goyaway have trended in recent days. Meanwhile, President Trump took to Twitter saying “I LOVE @GoyaFoods!”
Unanue, however, is not apologizing for endorsing Trump and is labeling the boycott as a “suppression of speech”. He was proud to support Trump, and also to say that Goya would be donating 2 million cans of food to American Food Banks. He also stated that he would be “honored” to be a part of the Hispanic Property Initiative, which was signed by Trump at the event with a goal of expanding “access by Hispanic Americans to educational and economic opportunities.” The CEO also has a extensive history of donating to Republican candidates and initiatives.
“If you’re called by the president of the United States, you’re going to say, ‘No I’m sorry, I’m busy, no thank you?’ I didn’t say that to the Obamas and I didn’t say that to President Trump.” said Unanue in an interview with Fox News on Friday. Republicans like Ted Cruz and Matt Schlapp and publicly defended the CEO while denouncing “cancel culture” on Twitter.
The unwavering support of Unanue is perplexing, when considering Trump’s history against Latinx people. In 2016, his presidential campaign was largely structured on restricting immigrants, especially from Mexico. In one speech he referred to the people coming from Mexico into the U.S. as “rapists.” He has relentlessly tried to end DACA, a program which protects immigrants, and offered little support to Puerto Rico in the midst of hurricane devastation. The Trump administration works closely with ICE and has detained immigrants at the US-Mexico border in concentration camps with inhuman men conditions.
It is also confusing when considering Goya’s history as a company. Goya is currently the largest Hispanic-owned company in the nation, but it began as a small store in Manhattan run by Spanish immigrants