I really hate to rag on The Miami Herald because I do have a lot of respect for them as a newspaper. Historically speaking, that is.

It’s almost as if it’s my favorite sports team because I grew up reading it, even though I spent my newspaper days working out west.

I’m happy that Pat Farrell won the Pulitzer. I met him once a few years ago when a group of University of Miami students had staged a sit-in protest inside the administrative offices of the university on behalf of the janitors who were on strike.

I was taking photos for the Miami Sunpost (three pictures here) and he was taking photos for the Herald (his picture is on this site). We were the only two photojournalists who were able to get inside the building before police locked it down. He was a very cool guy, so congratulations to him. A well-deserved honor.

But I really take issue with today’s story headlined “Non-Cubans have visited the island for years” because that is hardly news. Anybody who has a passing interest in Cuba should know you can get to Cuba and back despite the embargo. And you won’t be punished for it.

You will receive a warning as I did in 2006, but I’ve talked to people who have received several warning letters. If you’re not going to Cuba with the intent of smuggling humans and/or cigars into the United States, you generally won’t have a problem, even though Customs Agents will do their best to intimidate you.

When I went returned from Cuba through the Bahamas, the Customs Agents seemed bored after they searched my bags and realized all I had were a bunch of camera lenses. I’ve seen more enthusiasm from Customs Agents on my return trips from Colombia. But, of course, there are bigger fish to fry on those flights.

So I’m wondering why it took so long for the Herald to finally publicize this open secret? Does it have anything to do with the change in administration? Or in the change of wind regarding Cuba policy?

If so, then I will have to resort to that old Cuban exile saying: Yo no creo en el Herald.