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Richard Whittaker: As I’ve listened to these stories from your life the one thing that strikes me most is that there's been a genuine search in your life. And after high school I wanted to go to college which was unusual in our town, and I was the first person in our family to go to college.Also I wanted to get out of this little town, Lincoln Illinois.
There were a couple of people there who had an impact on your thinking. I met many Spaniards in Latin America who had gone into exile because they had been on the losing side in the Spanish civil war. At that time in 1970-71, when I met him, he was very prestigious, the most learned and prominent historian in the country.
They left for various reasons, fearing for their lives, not wanting to go to jail, or feeling they just couldn’t live under the regime of Franco. In his private library he had gathered all the primary and secondary documents, as much as that was possible, for studying the history of Venezuela.
The original G-I bill was in effect and I knew I could go into the service. I didn’t want to accept a nickel from my father, and I wanted to be able to study full-time.
There was a poster that said "Join The Marine Corps and See the World." I thought, well, maybe I’ll do that. And by cutting expenses I found I could live very easily on the G-I bill. From then on it was more books and ideas, searching through a lot of reading and certain friends I made. This had something to do, I believe, with your seeing some of the Viet Nam war protests, etc. One had to say something stronger, and the strongest thing would be to exile myself from my own country. Later on I came to the conclusion that it is very wrong to accuse the police of something.
Caldera was a man who recognized immediately what Pedro Grases was doing and his importance to the country, his importance to the future of that nation.