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Amidst a global pandemic, a boycott over the iconic brand Goya Foods gained unusual attention after the company’s CEO Robert Unanue threw his support behind former president Donald Trump. A photo of Ivanka Trump holding a can of beans went viral and Latino leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Lin-Manuel Miranda took to social media to advocate for a boycott of Goya products. For many Latinos and Latinas, Goya is more than a can of beans—it’s a badge of identity.

But this wasn’t the first time that the food giant got caught in political turmoil.

In 1998, the image of the big family, “La Gran Familia Goya,” was questioned for the first time. The powerful company was involved in an ugly dispute with its employees, who were mostly Latino immigrants working in Goya’s factory in Miami and who were trying to unionize to improve working conditions. “They don’t care about customers, they don’t care about workers, they just care about making a profit,” said Rodolfo Chavez, who worked as a truck driver for Goya for almost ten years.

Photo by Ysabel Turner.

In 2017, another boycott put Goya on the spotlight again. This time, many Puerto Ricans decided to boycott Goya products after the company removed its support from the Puerto Rican Day Parade. For artist Ysabel Turner, Goya’s boycott of the parade felt personal and she started to ask herself deeper questions about the brand’s role in her community: “Who was behind these products, whose cultures have been boiled down to fit into these packaged goods? If Goya is so ingrained and such a piece of the family, should it be given the status of a family member?” And she looked for answers through her art.

For this episode of Latino USA, we dive into the history of Goya Foods to understand how this company became a symbol of identity for Latinos and Latinas and how it aimed to profit from the deep bonds we have with food and culture.

Featured image by Ysabel Turner.

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30 thoughts on “Goya In Three Boycotts

  1. I, a latino, millennial, support goya and will continue to support goya. And btw i voted for Trump twice because of jobs and the economy and the msm treating him the way they did.

    1. Is your real name Ted Cruz? Are you so foolish not to recognize that the base of Trump supporters are white suprematists who don’t want you to have any rights?? So sad that you would line up to be a victim of prejudice rather than stand tall for rights.

      1. Keep on believing in what is right despite what these crazy blind ignoramus’s say, Jeremiah. Trump was a free President not taking a penny from us tax payers. Low gas prices keeping our jobs here! We are not white supremacist’s, we just follow the law of the countries. We can’t get into Mexico or any other country without a duhhhh PASSPORT! We can’t just walk into another country and neither should they. Let’s welcome them but the legal way. The proper way. That’s all we want. And that goes for anyone in other countries that don’t have the opportunity to walk just across a border as well. Love every one. Stop the hate. 🙏🏻✝️

    2. RIDICULOUS.

      So you as a Latino are voting for a White supremacist who is supported by White supremacists, anti-immigrant organizations/build the wall groups, etc?!

      The MSM treats Trump the way he DESERVES to be treated.

      He called Latinos rapists, criminals, people come to get on the welfare rolls, people bring disease to America.
      And you voted twice for him.
      SMH

  2. Will always buy Goya no matter what. They stand for what they believe , like I stand for mine. Que viva Goya. I’m going to buy more. This is not a communist country.

    1. correct, this is not a communist country – it is the most democratic country in the world. Otherwise we would not have a free marketplace like this; nor would you mrscarmenthomassC be able to comment here. Perhaps the country you or your ancestors emigrated from was not so democratic as the US. But is wrong, unpatriotic and misleading to claim that everything you don’t like is comparable to a ‘communist country’. This is the behavior of authoritarian governments. So if you want to behave like an authoritarian government, perhaps you should support them, instead of making making false attacks on our beloved constitution and defaming our country’s values and image

  3. As a Black-American I have always went out of my way to purchase Goya products as I fully support all minority own businesses when I can. The reason for my support of these companies is that as a minority I would hope the companies would be aware and support the struggles of minority groups in their markets and this country. I would hope these companies would use their profits and influence to make for a more equal and fair society. Perhaps a very lofty perfect world vision. But to think that a company makes it’s money largely from a certain group of people and then supports individuals or groups that look to disrespect that same group creates a disturbing picture. I have not purchased a Goya product since September 2020 after 40 years of brand loyalty and will never allow the brand name in my house again. I have spread the word to as many who will listen.

    1. I have boycotted Goya since September 2020, as well, after a lifetime of brand loyalty. I am truly disgusted by them, ashamed that I ever gave them one cent of my money. I will continue to boycott Goya or do without. Shame on them!

  4. I’m an old white conservative guy with Asian and Black family members. I never really thought about Goya products but after hearing of the boycotts, decided to support Goya. Now, whenever I food shop I hit the Goya section first to purchase the things I need from them instead of other brands. I don’t even check the prices-I just buy Goya!!!

  5. I am disgusted by this traitor to America. He just stated at CPAC that Donald Trump is the legitimate president of the US, a known fallacy/conspiracy. He has betrayed his loyal customers and employees but it is up to his people to decide if he betrayed them as well. Trump is a well known bigot and has done everything in his power to hold back minorities and empower old rich white men. Buying Goya tells me that someone supports all of this ugliness. So old fat white men who support Trump(not me) go ahead and buy Goya. It’s still a loss since you represent a minority in this country and use the products 1/4 as much as the original market did. I relish the shrinking bottom line for Goya and hope other CEOs are smart enough to keep their bigotry to themselves at the very least. Fuck Goya.

    1. TRUMP is NOT a Bigot and he has done much to support and empower Hispanic Minorities!
      I will continue to support and buy Goya. If you are hispanic, Trump will help you much more than any Democrat ever will. Democrats lie to Blacks and Hispanics to try and get their vote, then once they are elected, they forget anyone who supported them.

  6. I will never buy Goya again. I’m a proud Hispanic and my kids know Goya is brand that goes against the interests of Hispanic people. The red hats can keep supporting the company. I’m sure their support will last generations….

  7. The Goya Board of Directors can’t keep the CEO Unanue off the stage and attentive to business. I give up. I am voting with my $$$$. No mas Goya.

  8. Wake him up! Please pinch him! He is living the nightmare! He refuses to accept reality! A known CEO of a huge company today, still believes the president of our country is Trump! How ignorant of a billionaire!

  9. #goayaway… I am a Cuban American living in Miami. Not buying Goya ever again!!! I’d rather go “hungry” than spreading the lie!!!

  10. Unanue? Goya CEO,s support to Trump is disgusting .I stop buying Goy’s product like so many others, why the Board doesn’t take harsher measures against his CEO? He and Lindell, the pillow man deserve being ostracize from Latino’s business after theirs idol insults Latinos so many times! Carlos Lobo, m.d.

  11. Use the hashtag #BoycottGoya in your social media posts to keep the boycott alive. You might be surprised to learn that it’s been used over 35,000 times just on FB and still growing. By contrast, #BoycottMyPillow is under 5,000. But only suckers paid 40 bucks for 2 crappy pillows. Goya is one step away from big trouble. The board told CEO Unanue to keep his mouth shut and he then went to CPAC and declared Trump the legit president. That’s gotta cause commotion. Let’s cause more. Use the hashtag.

  12. It’s stunning how so many Latinos are so afraid of Communism that they’re willing to support Fascist racists. The United States is NOT Venezuela or Cuba. Here’s what happens if Democrats get what they want in the United States: Capitalism and Democracy flourishes and the US winds up looking like Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, or any of our other First World allies. We don’t turn into some third would country like Cuba. No one here is arguing for Communism. Socialism is all around you with things like the roads getting fixed, public schools, the military, the police, and so forth. If WE had our way the US crime rate would be that of a state like Hawaii’s instead of like Alaska’s. We’d get people to get over the gun culture. We’d embrace other races and religions. We’d have economic equality. Police would be held accountable.

    What you don’t seem to understand is by supporting far right conservatives you’re supporting your own demise. You really think people like Trump care about you? If Republicans got full control of the US, minorities would either wind up deported, slaves, or dead. White nationalism states White are better than you. Full stop. It says Whites are the master race and everyone else is inferior. That’s why when minorities were attacked Trump never had anything to say about it. You think if you help them get back in power they’re going to thank you for it, and they will: with a knife in the back. Under Trump civil rights were set back decades. As were women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. WHY a lot of you think that’s a good thing, and WHY you think that White Christian males deserve more rights than everyone else is beyond me.

    I AM a White Christian male, so at the end of the day I’d be fine. I could very easily say it doesn’t affect me, screw them, who cares. But then I don’t want to live in the Fourth Nazi Reich, and my wife is Peruvian and in my opinion EQUAL to me and deserving of 100% of the same rights I have. But you dopes don’ see it that way. You see people who aren’t White as being less than. And you’re proving it by supporting a company that doesn’t support workers, doesn’t support Puerto Ricans, that agrees with Trump that Mexicans are rapists and killers, and that the Hispanics coming here are bringing disease and poverty, and you’re just wrong. Our diversity is what makes us great as a nation. Your foolish dream of a White America ruled by the corporations and the powerful in the military is exactly the same one Hitler had. Hitler was against equality. He hated non-Whites, he hated Jews, he hated women, he hated the working class, he was against education and called those people elites, he was against freedom of speech, he supported corporations, the war machine, limited rights: all the same things you people are supporting. It would be like if Jews had supported Hitler.

    Stop being ignorant, stop being so terrified of Communism that you’re willing to be enslaved or worse, stop supporting people who think because of the color of your skin you’re worth less than Whites.

  13. Adam Smith, if you haven’t noticed, the term “Christian” is being thrown around a bit too much. Read Revelations again. We’re living it, and you’re exactly what it describes the church to be in the end. YOU, my dear white Christian male, are part of the problem. And don’t misunderstand my comment. As Christians we should love all races and all people, but we’re not to stand idle and let sin prevail. To say that we were set back in LGBTQ+ rights is, as a white Christian female, crazy to me. We’re to love people, not sin. And we’re definitely not to support it, as you’ve made quite clear you do.

  14. Adam,

    With your permission, I would like to do some minor editing on what you wrote and publish it on a Goya Boycott Facebook page. I like the way you tie the big picture to what seems to some to be just a company with a crazy CEO. He is in fact doing a lot of harm. Please let me know if this is okay with you. There seems to be no way to message you on this forum.

  15. Well said. I just don’t buy Goya products anymore. There are plenty other providers. I can’t forget how embarrassing it was to see this Unanue toad lick those boots. And then there was that picture of whatshername holding a can of goya frijolitos. No , gracias.

  16. Doesnt look to me like the 2020 boycott is dead. This company has an out of control CEO. I wonder how long that will last…
    Boycotting Goya and including #BoycottGoya in my social media posts to increase the pressure. Diversity is strength. Food should nourish not supress. Fascism is out and out it will stay… tfg has no power unless we choose to give it to him… Why would a person choose oppression?

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