Sept 08 - Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson arrives in Cuba on a private trip to seek the release of American aid contractor Alan Gross. Rough Cut (No reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson arrived in Cuba on a private trip to seek the release of American aid contractor Alan Gross, whose jailing on charges of trying to set up Internet networks has frozen U.S.-Cuba ties. The former New Mexico governor refused to comment when encountered by reporters at Havana's Hotel Nacional. "I have nothing to say, I have no comment," said the casually dressed Richardson. The 62-year-old Gross is in a Cuban prison serving a 15-year sentence handed down earlier this year and upheld last month by the communist island's highest court. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said U.S. officials were aware of the trip and had been in contact with Richardson, a veteran Democratic politician who has played diplomatic trouble-shooter for Democratic administrations.