Valdéz, Juan

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Valdéz, Juan

Juan Valdéz, fictitious Colombian coffee grower, created in 1959 by the National Coffee Growers Federation of Colombia for its advertising campaigns in the United States. Valdéz and his donkey have proven remarkably durable in both print and electronic advertising; a stylized logo was introduced in 1981, and mere invocation of his name is considered sufficient in recent campaigns. Valdéz does not figure in Colombian domestic advertising (where individual brands, rather than the federation, are in control), but his name is familiar to Colombians, who consider him a caricature for foreign consumption, albeit a positive one. While the Valdéz image of a grower lovingly scrutinizing each coffee bean is, to put it mildly, idealized—the western Colombian coffee harvest is a fast-paced affair increasingly reliant upon tens of thousands of migrant wage-laborers—it does suggest the continuing predominance of independent small- and medium-sized producers in Colombia, as opposed to the larger agribusiness-style operations that characterize Brazil. In 2003 Colombian coffee growers banded together under the Colombian Coffee Federation to promote upscale Colombian coffee at home and abroad. They revived the Juan Valdéz logo and opened Juan Valdéz coffee shops throughout Colombia. The stores netted $708,000 in sales in their first year of operation. In 2004 the growers opened Juan Valdéz gourmet coffee shops around the world. These were stocked with coffee and gift items.

See alsoCoffee Industry; Colombia, Organizations: National Federation of Coffee Growers.


Additional Bibliography

Bergquist, Charles W. Coffee and Conflict in Colombia, 1886–1910. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1978.

Cuellar Boada, Fidel H. El crédito cafetero en Colombia: Economía, instituciónes, y política, 1920–2002. Bogota: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2004.

Rincón García, John Jairo. Trabajo, territorio, y política: Expresiones regionales de la crisis cafetera, 1990–2002. Medellin, Colombia: La Carreta Editores, 2006.

Roseberry, William, and Lowell Gudmundson, eds. Coffee, Society, and Power in Latin America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

                                  Richard J. Stoller