James Fleming Denham, an American who went to Central
America in the 1890’s to seek his fortune and found it in Panama,
seems to have been a man of paradox. He was clearly unfaithful
to his wife, but seems to have been remarkably faithful to his
mistress –or so it would seem from the successive appearances of
Ana Maria, Virgilia, Roberto, Jaime, and Ricardo, the children
produced by their enduring liaison.
Of course such a tale of riches and illicit romance would not be
complete if it did not include an episode of violent death. In fact,
it was James Denham’s own life that ended violently. Yet his
murder seems to have been the least remarkable aspect of the
international legal wranglings triggered by his demise.
Perhaps it is best to take the story in sequence. James
Denham was accompanied by his wife Lettie, and their son Frank,
as he established his little family in El Boquete, a little town about
as far as one could get from Panama City, nestled in a high valley
on the flank of Vulcan Baru near the Costa Rican border.
Unfortunately, Frank was a sickly child, and Lettie decided to take
him to California. She thus fell into a pattern of moving between
California, where Frank was growing up, and Panama, where
James was succeeding in various ventures.
What happened next was perhaps inevitable, as a woman
named Andrea Gonzales appeared in the life of James Denham.
The historical documents describe her as a “native woman” and as
Denham’s “paramour.” We must assume she had raven hair, ruby
lips, and eyes that could melt all the ice in Greenland. At any rate,
she was to bear him the five aforementioned children. This,
WAITING FOR LOEWEN
Presented to the Institute for Transnational Arbitration – Dallas
Jan Paulsson holds the Michael Klein
Distinguished Scholar Chair at the University of
Miami School of Law. He has acted as counsel or
arbitrator in many hundreds of international
arbitrations, conducted under all the major
international arbitration rules. He has appeared
before a number of public international law
tribunals, including the International Court of
Justice. Jan is President of the International Council for
Commercial Arbitration, President of the Administrative
Tribunals of the OECD and the EBRD, and a board member of the
AAA. He is a former President of the London Court of
International Arbitration and of the World Bank Administrative
Tribunal, and a former Vice-President of the ICC International
Court of Arbitration. Jan heads a graduate programme in
international arbitration at the School of Law of the University of
Miami. Among his publications are the standard reference work
International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration (3rd edition
2000), which he co-authored with Messrs. W.L. Craig and W.W.
Park, and his monograph Denial of Justice in International Law,
published by Cambridge University Press in 2005. His latest
book, The Idea of Arbitration, will be published by Oxford
University Press in 2013. Jan holds degrees from Harvard College,
Yale Law School (where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal)
and the University of Paris. He speaks English, French, Spanish,
and Swedish. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.