Hon. Jose O. Castaneda

Hon. Jose O. Castaneda

Emigrated to the United States after winning a national contest on World War II history in his senior year of high school in Colombia. He entered Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, Ct., where he received a B.A. in 1975. In 1979, he completed a master’s program in International Affairs at Columbia University. From there he went back to Bogotá to work at Banco Internacional de Colombia. In 1981 he returned to New York to work for Citibank.

In 1992, he received his law degree from Pace University, White Plains, N.Y. He was admitted to the courts of N.Y., Connecticut and the Southern District of New York. The same year he opened his law firm in Port Chester, N.Y. Among his fields of interest are poetry, literature and collecting antique books.

In 2007, he was appointed Associate Justice in Port Chester. A year later, he published his short story The Flower Parade. (OP Gráficas, Eds., Bogotá). Written in a feast of music and colors, the story narrates the journey of the author and his family when fleeing the violence of the countryside to seek refuge in the city. It also recounts how the author himself met a group of U. S. Peace Corps volunteers who had offered him shelter and support until he completed high school.

Years later, he began a study on immigration. His work led to the publication of his novel, Entre acuarelas y lágrimas (Between Watercolors and Tears). Caligrama Eds., Seville, Spain (2020). In the novel, Manuel, a young watercolor painter and herbalist, leaves his home in Ecuador, enters the U.S. and settles in Port Chester. Elvira, his wife, tries to emigrate later by boat, which capsizes in a storm. After her rescue, she decides to travel to Spain, where she finds work as a nanny for the children Antonio. 

With Manuel becoming lost in his work, paintings and naturalist healings, Elvira finds solace in the antique books she finds in her new job. Seeing that, Antonio leaves bookmarks pointing to insightful passages for her to read. Elvira pretends to ignore them at first, but soon begins to signal other phrases for him. It was the beginning of an intriguing, while silent, literary exchange through which love slowly trickled in.

When the entanglement eventually unravels, she leaves for the U.S. to try to convince her husband to return with her to their country. Then she sees Manuel’s new watercolors painted in her absence. His brushstrokes painfully lacerated the inner depths of her soul. (The Flower Parade can be requested at no cost from jcjurist@aol.com; Between Watercolors and Tears can be ordered through Amazon.com.)