Oscar Gonzales

Author and Editor of Five Books in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Contact: oneidcke at capaccess.org

In Central America in My Heart, Gonzales expresses nostalgia for the beauty of his native Honduras, sharing his passion and sense of loss. Vacillating between rage and undying love, Gonzales's poems express his deep cultural appreciation of his homeland while he reveals their struggles and berates a corrupt and unjust political and economic system. Gonzales was awarded Yale University's Theron Rockwell Field Prize for his anthology of poems Donde el Plomo Flota (Where Lead Floats). Works presented in both Spanish and English. “Gonzales belongs to the family of Pablo Neruda, because of the amplitude of his poetry’s horizons, the strength and firmness of his voice, and the ‘intimist’ and cosmic sensuality of his love poetry. Eroticism and panoramic vision of nature are characteristics that unite the two poets, together with an interest in the themes of liberty and the disdain of oppression, injustice, tyranny.” Manuel Duran, Yale University. Read at Poets.org. Buy at Amazon. Blog, Essays

Where are most of the rural poor located in Central and Latin America and why are they there? This book argues that marginal hillside regions account for a large proportion of the rural poor in Latin America. These populations have been displaced from productive farmlands by intensive agricultural development. Thus, projects that simply focus on agricultural development will not lead to poverty reduction, but may sometimes increase it. A wide array of policies, technologies and institutional arrangements are presented to provide solutions to the problem of rural poverty in Latin America.

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A high percentage of lands in Latin America is characterized by problems of erosion, deforestation, sedimentation and loss of biodiversity. To face these problems, governments, Non Governmental Organizations, and international agencies have traditionally recurred to the implementation of soil conservation practices, reforestation and the establishment of protected areas. Meanwhile, notable changes in land use and production practices, which do not depend primarily on the implementation of any particular project, have gone unnoticed, but had a favorable and substantial impact over natural resources. If policies had concentrated on establishing the appropriate conditions to stimulate this type of spontaneous change, perhaps policies would have had more success than those which were actually implemented.

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This book discusses the interactions of agricultural and economic growth in lieu of poverty reduction and environmental protection programs. There are tradeoffs when programs with different objectives are implemented and solutions must incorporate a balance between competing goals. To illustrate these development strategies, three cases of land use intensification: horticultural production in the Guatemalan highlands, coffee production in Honduras, the “farmer to farmer” movement in Nicaragua; and two cases of land use extensification: depopulation in the north and east of El Salvador as a result of the Civil War and the abandonment of pastures in Costa Rica.

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The title for this book “Loved in the Beloved Transformed” alludes to the mystical poetry “Dark Night of the Soul” by Saint John of the Cross. According to literary critic Manuel Duran, in this book “the poet achieves to beautifully communicate what is inexpressible, he moves towards distant horizons in mystical ships like Rimbaud, and arrives at eternal and unexplored sites, on secret shores where only mystery resides. Poetry like an adventurous danger, poetry that pursues and reaches the unattainable, a poetry of vertigo that tries to communicate to us --and achieves-- what the poet pursues and reaches as a man, as an enamored man, as a man for whom love is not only a victory, but a passage towards the knowledge of the absolute, towards, “the incomprehensible sensation of eternity on my lips”. Buy at Amazon

Hurricane Mitch and the Livelihoods of the Rural Poor in Honduras. This paper assesses the extent to which Hurricane Mitch affected the rural poor in Honduras and whether national and international aid efforts succeeded in providing relief. One of every two surveyed households incurred medical, housing, or other costs due to Mitch. One in three suffered from a loss in crops. One in five lost assets. One in ten lost wages or business income. Relief was most often provided by churches and NGOs. It consisted mainly of food, clothing, and medicine, and it amounted to less than one tenth of the losses incurred by households.