Arturo Sandoval to Be Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

Cuban-born trumpeter was once jailed for listening to jazz

Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval in performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico

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Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama later this year, according to published news reports. The Cuban-born musician will join former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, country singer Loretta Lynn and others in receiving the honor, according to a White House statement.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom was created by President John F. Kennedy to honor civilians and has been given to more than 500 people since its inception.

Sandoval, born in Artemisa, Cuba, in 1949, began his musical career in his homeland and was once jailed for three months for “listening to the voice of the enemy,” he was quoted as saying. He eventually defected from Cuba and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1999.