McGeorge School of Law

Aldana Co-Organized LatCrit Study Space Project in Guatemala

July 15, 2015


Associate Dean Raquel Aldana, McGeorge School of Law

McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific Associate Dean Raquel Aldana and Adjunct Professor Luis Mogollón co-organized a LatCrit Study Space Project in Guatemala during summer 2015.

Study Space, a LatCrit, Inc. initiative, is a series of intensive workshops, held at diverse locations around the world. This Study Space project involved an eight-working-day field visit to Guatemala from June 27 to July 5, 2015. There were six participants from McGeorge and eight other attorney and faculty participants from around the world.

The delegation of Study Space participants formed through a call for papers proposing a trip to Guatemala to study more closely the phenomena of failed nations viewed from the perspective of the relationship of the state of Guatemala with corporations. Each of the participants is studying a topic that relates to this year's Study Space focus of Corporations, the State, and the Rule of Law.

List of participants alphabetically by last name, and topics:

  • Nigara Abate (London) is examining extractive metal industries and the rights of indigenous peoples.
  • Randall Abate (Florida A&M) is examining the extractive metal industry in Guatemala.
  • Raquel Aldana (McGeorge) is examining the extractive metal industry in Guatemala.
  • Steve Bender (Seattle) is examining the Maquila Sector.
  • Julie Davies (McGeorge) is examining Mayan customary law in Guatemala as it relates to investment in indigenous lands.
  • Patricia Ferreira (Center for Global Governance and Innovation in Canada) is studying deforestation and climate change in Guatemala.
  • José R. Juárez (Denver) is examining expropriation claims by corporations under CAFTA-DR.
  • Sylvia La Rosa (McGeorge) is completing an externship with the Attorney General's office of Guatemala and interested in the criminalization of human rights defenders in the country.
  • Beth Lyon (Cornell) is examining language access rights in Guatemala.
  • Luis Mogollón (McGeorge) is examining labor unions in Guatemala.
  • Marcia Narine (St. Thomas) is applying the concept of conflict minerals to the extractive industry in Guatemala.
  • Blake Nordahl (McGeorge) is examining sugar industry workers in Guatemala and the phenomena of emigration to the U.S.
  • Rachael Salcido (McGeorge) is examining the extractive metal industry in Guatemala.
  • Evelyn Palomo Siliezar, an immigration attorney, is examining the criminalization of human rights defenders in Guatemala.

During the intensive eight-day visit, the group traveled to two rural communities: The first was Chuatroj, Totonicapan — an indigenous community with large migration patterns, where they met with elementary and high school kids in a cross-cultural exchange and with 31 indigenous leaders to learn how Mayan justice functions in Guatemala; The second was a trip to three communities in San Rafael Las Flores where they met with environmental justice activists resisting the mining activities of Tahoe Resources Inc., a Canadian company.

In addition, the group met with several academic and lawyers in the country who educated them on the issues they were studying, as well as with more than a dozen other civil, government and private sector groups.

Groups met with included:

Civil Sector

  • INCEDES — Migration
  • Madre Selva — Environmental Justice
  • CALAS — Environmental Justice


  • The Human Rights Ombudsman
  • The Ministry of the Environment
  • The Ministry on Protected Areas (CONAP)
  • The Roundtable of Dialogue of the Executive Branch
  • The Indigenous Office of the Guatemala Supreme Court

Private Sector

  • Firms representing mining corporations
  • AMCHAM — the American Chamber of Commerce

The work that began during the 2015 Study Space will continue with the writing of a book, which will also include several Central American experts, in addition to the professors in the delegation. McGeorge will host a follow-up workshop on campus in December 2015.

Study Space Collage

Open a high-resolution version of the photo in Flickr.

Luis photo collage