Songwriter Armando Manzanero and rapper Edgardo Arias Franco, aka "El General," will receive special honors at the 2003 Billboard Latin Music Awards, to be held May 8 at the Miami Arena. Manzanero, th

Songwriter Armando Manzanero and rapper Edgardo Arias Franco, aka "El General," will receive special honors at the 2003 Billboard Latin Music Awards, to be held May 8 at the Miami Arena. Manzanero, the Mexican singer/pianist/composer whose songs are synonymous with romantic Latin music worldwide, will receive this year's Billboard Hall of Fame Award, presented for outstanding longtime artistic merit.

Panama's El General will receive the Billboard Spirit of Hope Award for his civic and humanitarian contributions through his foundation Ninos Pobres Sin Fronteras. "This foundation was made by a group of friends who come from the same neighborhood but who?ve accomplished something in life and wanted to give something back," says El General. Winners of the special awards are chosen by Billboard editors.

As previously reported, sibling trio Las Ketchup and Mexican pop diva Pilar Montenegro top the list of finalists for this year's Latin Music awards; each will compete in seven categories. Colombian pop/rocker Juanes is close behind, competing in six categories, while Mexican/Argentine duo Sin Bandera and regional Mexican singer Aracely Arambula are each up for five awards.

Latin star Alejandro Sanz will sit down for a one-on-one interview May 7 as part of the 14th annual Billboard Latin Music Conference. Sanz is expected to discuss his creative process and his recent work with a host of artists, including Ricky Martin, Alexandre Pires, and the Corrs.

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