|Arturo Sandoval: Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient|
Gillespie promptly became a mentor and colleague, playing with Arturo in concerts in Europe and Cuba and later featuring him in The United Nations Orchestra. Sandoval defected to the United States of America while touring with Gillespie in 1990, and became a naturalized citizen in 1999. Because of his defection, his music was banned in his homeland. Many other prominent and important Cuban musicians like Arturo, have also been banned from the airwaves in Cuba.
On February 24, 2009 Arturo Sandoval played taps for Armando Alejandre Jr., Mario De La Peña, Carlos Costa, and Pablo Morales extrajudicially executed by the Cuban government on February 24, 1996 at 3:21 pm and 3:27 pm., respectively, in international airspace. Arturo has remained a steadfast advocate for Cuban freedom and human rights. He scored the soundtrack for the documentary Oscar's Cuba, about the life of a Cuban dissident and former prisoner of conscience.
On August 8, 2013 Arturo Sandoval was named one of 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States for those "who have made especially meritorious contributions to the U.S. and to world peace."