Credits: Wikimedia Commons
'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 the most prosperous nation in the world', CEO of Goya Foods, Robert Unanue’s words are not sitting right with many in the United Sates.
In a recent press conference at the White House Robert Unanue’s praise for President Trump led to a twitter storm with #Goyaway, calling to boycott the company’s products. Goya Foods manufactures ingredients and meals that span variety of cultures including Mexican, Spanish and Cuban cuisines. Unanue’s comments have caused an uproar within the Latinx community, the main demographic Goya Foods markets towards. Politicians and public figures have come forward to express their disdain. Former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julián Castro penned his outrage for the CNN stating, ‘Unanue's comments were offensive because he and his Spanish-American family have profited mightily from Latinos, the very people that Trump has treated like a piñata for his own political profit.’
Soon after the call for boycott, Donald Trump tweeted ‘@GoyaFoods is doing GREAT. The Radical Left smear machine backfired, people are buying like crazy!’ And Goya Foods has put out press releases stating that they are donating 200,000 pounds of food to Mexico and Venezuela. Donald Trump along with his daughter Ivanka both took to twitter to praise the company uploading pictures of themselves with the canned goods. Even when executive branches are meant to refrain from endorsing products. Trump’s campaign has welcomed the controversy and released ads in Spanish criticizing Democrats while praising Goya.
Latinx chefs are calling for people to support small businesses that offer alternatives to Goya. The company has been accused of homogenizing the nuanced cuisines of Latin America and selling it under one banner. Chef Eric Rivera stocked his line of Peurto Rican pantry staples to include dry beans, adobo and sazón, offering an alternative. In an interview with HuffPost he spoke about Trumps hypocrisy and how food choices are political.
This incident has sparked a debate about free speech. But also recognizes a bigger issue. Our food choices come with ballot boxes. Politics is not limited to the General Elections, its apparent in our everyday decisions. Ethically sourced sustainable ingredients are what Millennial's and Gen Z’s seek out. It’s not a fad or a trend rather a conscious choice. It’s a stand against climate injustice, labor exploitation and now a stamp of one's political leanings. A corporation that seeks to attract the Latinx market but supports Trump suggests that it has overlooked the POTUS’s stance on DACA or even the detention camps at the border.