Carlos Francisco "Chico" Changmarin, Panamanian poet, essayist, novelist, and award-winning children's writer, died at the age of 90 on December 5, 2012. Before looking specifically at the works of Changmarin, some general historical context is necessary in order to appreciate just how unusual the work of this Panamanian author really is. Changmarin, whose sense of personal identity cannot be completely disarticulated from his construction of national identity, turns the Panama Canal into a symbol of the divide that Panamanians feel both in terms of nation and of self. Changmarin imagines a Panama that is poor and often miserable yet one in which the idealized life in the countryside, the cooperation among neighbors and knowledge of the natural world trumps the drudgery and ignorance of city life. Changmarin's obsession to reinscribe the story of Lorenzo, a peasant fighter supporting the liberals in the Thousand Days' War before Panamanian independence from Colombia, is also framed in terms of race and national identity.