Goya Foods has backed out of sponsorship of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade after 60 years of continuous support, and they’re not saying why. But could it have to do with one man?
While Goya is staying tight-lipped as to why, (conspiracy?) theorists are pointing to the parade organizers decision to honor Oscar Lopez Rivera. Depending on who you ask, Rivera is either a hero, an activist, or a terrorist.
A Goya spokesman told the NY Daily News that “it was a business decision… We make business decisions all the time.” He also said that the decision applied to “one year, this year.”
The 74-year-old Rivera was a member of Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional Puertorriquena (FALN), an organization that claimed responsibility for more than 120 bombings (and six deaths) in Chicago, NYC, and D.C., over the course of 10 years in the late 70s and early 80s. FALN’s goal was a “free and socialist Puerto Rico."
Rivera was arrested in 1981 and sentenced to 55 years in prison. President Obama, however, commuted Rivera's sentence in the final days of his presidency. Earlier this year, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade committee announced it would honor “political prisoner” Rivera at the parade. Shortly after the announcement, Goya pulled its sponsorship.
The largest and oldest Spanish-language newspaper, El Diario, reported that Goya pulled its sponsorship because of "...an aggressive media and social media campaign against our Company and its excellent products, citing as its reason that we sponsored a terrorist and FALN member by the name of Oscar López". El Diaro has since pulled that article and Goya has stuck to the “it’s a business decision” line.
The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is scheduled for June 11.