Rare Honest Headline: "Cuban Immigrant Executed" For 1995 Rape And Murder Of 9-Year Old Boy

Juan Carlos Chavez

You rarely see a headline like this: Cuban immigrant executed for 1995 murder of Florida boy, By Bill Cotterell,Reuters, February 12, 2014.

Almost always,  if an immigrant commits a grotesque crime, their immigration status is buried in paragraph 6, and it says they're a "native of Haiti" or "moved here from Mexico."

Juan Carlos Chavez was executed for the murder of Jimmy Ryce, a 9-year old white boy in Florida.

Chavez, who worked as a farmhand and had no criminal history, kidnapped the boy at gunpoint as he got off a school bus in Redland, an agricultural area of south Miami-Dade County.

He took Ryce to his trailer and raped him. When the boy tried to escape, Chavez shot him in the back, dismembered him and hid his body in concrete-filled plastic pots.

The boy's disappearance shook south Florida and garnered national attention. Hundreds of volunteers signed up for the search and his parents held a stream of press conferences.

Three months after disappearing, Jimmy's remains were found near Chavez's trailer after his landlord found the boy's school bag.

Chavez arrived in south Florida on a raft from Cuba with two others in 1991 and was working as a farmhand at the time of the murder. Little is known about his background or family, who remained in Cuba.

Jimmy Ryce(September 26, 1985 – September 11, 1995)There are two possible reasons for the "Cuban immigrant" rather than "Florida man" headline.

  • They are applying different rules for Cuban immigrants, who are white and anti-Communist.
  • They're applying "victim" rules to the man being executed.

It's true he died, but the actual victim was Jimmy Ryce  (September 26, 1985 – September 11, 1995).  The third explanation, that the press has suddenly turned honest, I reject out of hand as improbable.