After Company CEO Praised Trump Twice at White House, a Call to Boycott Goya Foods Trends

Jul 9, 2020
10:17 PM

President Trump signing an extension of the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, July 9, 2020 (Public Domain)

On Thursday afternoon, a group of Hispanic (yes, we use that label on purpose in this case) leaders visited the White House to fawn over President Trump’s announcement to extend the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.

This photo opp came at a time when the U.S. Latino community has been one of the hardest hit populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Actual data proves that.)

The event probably wouldn’t have gotten that much attention with the U.S Latino community until this happened on Twitter:

To be honest, Latino Rebels wasn’t covering this event because it felt like another typical campaign event that Trump tries to use as a way to have people think that U.S. Latinos are really behind him, but when we started seeing tweets, we checked out the video, and yes, there it was:

And even before Goya Foods CEO and President Bob Unanue said what he said in the Rose Garden, he also said this inside the White House (as per an official transcript):

MR. UNANUE: Mr. President, what can I tell you? I’m so blessed to be here in the most prosperous country in the world, the greatest country in the world. And we’re so blessed to have you as our leader, as we continue to build this country and make it — continue to make it the most prosperous nation in the world.

I’m Bob Unanue, third generation. I’m CEO and president of Goya Foods, Inc., a multibillion dollar company with facilities all over the United States and the Caribbean —


MR. UNANUE: — and Spain. We have about 4,500 employees we call “la gran familia Goya” — the great Goya family. And these people, we didn’t — we haven’t been back to work because we never stopped. We never stopped working. We doubled our efforts. And I asked the guys and gals, and I said, “Hey, this is tough.” And they said, “Look, if we don’t do it, nobody will.” And they said, “Presente.” The said, “Count on us.”

My grandfather left Spain at 18 years old from — on a steamship in 1904 with a lot of other European people who — the economy over there was not the most prosperous in — in the world. So they came to the Unit- — he came to the United States through Puerto Rico.

In 1936, he established — he was importing products in Spain. That was the Spanish Civil War. That dried up. He established Goya foods on Duane Street in Manhattan.


MR. UNANUE: At that time, it was a butter and egg market. And now you have Bouley and all these great restaurants and all the — the marvelous things of New York.

But anyway, we’re all over the United States. And the United States, after Mexico, is the largest Hispanic country in the world. By 2050, we will be one third of the population. Prosperity is what we need to — faith in God, prosperity — to work hard and to build.

You are an incredible builder. And that, I tell our — our people, our family, “Look, we’re just beginning.” Because as the country grows, as the Hispanic community grows, we continue to grow. And that is the American Dream. That’s our (inaudible). Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Great job. Really great job.

Soon enough, #BoycottGoyaFoods, #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway were trending. A few examples:

And so on and so on.

Nonetheless, people shouldn’t be 100% surprised that Unanue said what he said. The family is one of the richest Spanish-American families in the United States. And like Unanue said in 2014, “We like to say we don’t market to Latinos, we market as Latinos.”

Unanue leans to the right but when it is politically convenient, he likes to stay nimble. In addition, it’s pretty clear where Goya stands on politics, especially when it decided to no longer be a major sponsor of National Puerto Rican Day Parade in 2017 when Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar López Rivera was being honored. Finally, there’s also a history of being a little awkward with the community that built up the company for what it is today. Remember the Roberto Clemente statue from 2013?

Still, it seems that his latest comment struck a nerve with the U.S. Latino consumers Unanue might not like marketing to anymore.

Latino Rebels did reach out to Goya Foods to comment via phone message, email and tweets, but as of this posting nobody at the company has responded.

A petition has already been generated by United We Dream, part of which reads, “If Goya wants our business, they must respect and fight for our humanity!”

Meanwhile, the posts keep coming. As well as the tweets:

Then, AOC weighed in:

Before AOC, there was this from Julián Castro:

Hit it, Gollum:

If anything positive has come out of this, maybe it’s that there are so many alternatives to Goya, and that might be just fine:

UPDATE, July 10, 10:00 am ET: Unanue went on Fox News to address the controversy.