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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cuban Jazzman Wins U.S. Citizenship Battle

MIAMI -- Cuban-born jazz trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval was sworn in as a U.S. citizen Monday, ending a three-year battle to overcome U.S. objections to his former membership in the Cuban Communist Party. Sandoval was sworn in Monday in Miami, an INS spokesman said.

Sandoval, 49, a three-time Grammy winner, defected to the United States in May 1990 when he ran to the U.S. Embassy in Rome while on tour with his mentor, the late trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

He was granted permanent U.S. residency in 1990 and petitioned for citizenship in 1995, but was turned down twice. The Immigration and Naturalization Service denied his citizenship petition due to a federal statute that says anyone who "is or was a member of, or was affiliated with, the Communist Party" in the 10 years prior to submission is not entitled to U.S. citizenship.

Sandoval has maintained that he joined the Communist Party three months before defecting so as to not draw attention to his departure.