Original art by @modográfico

Plenty has already been said about the colorful tile floor of Maiquetía Airport, which became the symbol of the growing Venezuelan diaspora. But as recent allegations of vandalism first came up in social networks (and were later picked up by several media outlets), their veracity has come into question in this article by Revista Clímax.

In late February, reports from Twitter users hinted that some Venezuelans leaving the country were taking small pieces of the terminal’s floor as memento of their homeland. The issue became a hot topic online and was later covered by local and even foreign media (like Miami’s El Nuevo Herald), from the crazy capybara doing its thing to Misión Verdad using it for “narrative.”

But what actual truth is in those reports? Clímax’s Alexandra Sucre spoke with airport employees who denied ever witnessing vandalism.

A female maintenance worker said that pieces detached from the mosaic are simply thrown away. Two airline counter personnel said that they’ve not seen anything as described on the Internet. Matter of fact, one admitted that she actually found out about the “trend” online.

She also spoke with architect David Viloria, who says sabotage isn’t as easy as it sounds: “It’s like taking a small piece of ceramic from your house’s floor, and in that case the glue used in there is very simple, unlike the high-resistance kind used in comparison for the airport”.  

A female maintenance worker said that pieces detached from the mosaic are simply thrown away.

But the overall decay of “Cromointerferencia de color aditivo” (its formal name), can’t be denied. In the wake of its 40th anniversary, the restoration announced almost four years ago is far from over. Only a small area has been completed.

Airport authorities prefer to keep things as quiet as possible. Back in 2016, two reporters from newspaper La Verdad de Vargas were detained for several hours (and verbally scolded by a National Guard General) for taking photos of the decaying floor, located inside a “security zone.”

Some workers in Maiquetía blame cargo and luggage workers, which roam free in the terminal. “The transfer of maintenance materials used to be done in the basement,” said one of them, who only identified as Rivero. “Now the wheelbarrows pass around almost on daily basis.”

Even if it’s too early to tag this controversy as “fake news”, this must be a remainder for both social network users and media outlets alike to be a little more careful when sharing information without checking the implications, or knowing the actual truth.

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