Postcard: Panama

A bitter dispute over a wealthy American's will has become a metaphor for this nation's big divide. Inside the fight for $50 million

Ivan Kaskinsky / WPN for TIME

Kids play and hang out during school hours in La Caseta in the barrio of Curundu in Panama City, Panama, on October 24, 2007.

These are heady days for tiny Panama. It is undertaking a massive expansion of the Panama Canal, luring billions of dollars in maritime and high-tech investment that could make it the Hong Kong of the Americas. But here's the other side: in the past few months, scores of toddlers have died of malnutrition in villages around the country. More than half of Panamanian children under 5 are at risk of suffering the same fate. That's why, say friends of Wilson (Chuck) Lucom, who died last year at 88, the eccentric U.S. millionaire left as much as $50 million in his will...

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