New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is spending the week in Cuba "and he's paying his own way because of the state's budget problems," the Associated Press reports.
He was due to fly to Havana today and return on Friday, his spokeswoman told the AP.
Joining Richardson will be:
* State Agriculture Department Secretary I. Miley GonzalezThis is being touted as a trade mission and nothing more. But if anyone can make diplomatic inroads, it's Richardson.
* Cultural Affairs Secretary Stuart Ashman
* Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Katherine Miller.
* Richardson Deputy Chief of Staff Gilbert Gallegos.
Over the years, he's been a diplomatic troubleshooter in many countries, including Iraq, North Korea and the Sudan.
He's the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He met with Fidel Castro in 1996 and negotiated the release of three political prisoners.