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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9 COMMENTS

  1. And then there’s this lovely news.

    ‘We’re Losing the Fight’: Tuberculosis Batters a Venezuela in Crisis

    “Tuberculosis is hitting us hard,” said Dr. Jacobus de Waard, the director of the tuberculosis laboratory at the Institute of Biomedicine in Caracas, the busiest public testing center in the capital.

    “We’re losing the fight,” he said.

    The Venezuela government’s tuberculosis prevention and control program was once among the most robust in the hemisphere, with the nation boasting one of the lowest rates of infection in Latin America, experts say.

    Experts now fear that the nation is teetering on the brink of a tuberculosis epidemic that could spill over its borders as Venezuelans flee in record numbers to escape the economic and political crisis, potentially exporting the illness with them.

    And as the Venezuelan health system has fallen apart, the government’s ability to respond to epidemics has collapsed.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/world/americas/venezuela-tuberculosis.html

    La patria nueva, la patria bonita!!!! Revoluccion!!!!

  2. I like these kinds of stories. They’re funny, although in a sad way:

    Historically, migrants to the U.S. kissed the ground when they arrived, and sure didn’t bring a cup of soil from their native land with them. And VZers are bringing a piece of tile as a keepsake?

    I doubt it.

  3. When your bathrooms don’t have running water, toilet paper, or soap, your escalators don’t have electricity, why expect that your tiled mosaic art should have tiles?

  4. The Boss (Mrs. Guapo, the Venez. expat) thinks its fake news too. While it is with heartbreak that many leave Venezuela for a new life somewhere else, it is ludicrous to think that anyone would take even a minute out of their life to steal a piece of mosaic tile from a decaying airport in a self destructing nation to remind them of their soon to be former home. The floor has been falling a part for many years, and suddenly this is “news”? No, its another excuse by Chavismo for their failures.

    Good call, Gustavo.

  5. I always found that airport depressing……thread-bare, dark, and dank.

    I’m guessing it’s not changed in the few years since I last visited.

  6. At least they didn’t blame it on iguanas, whose evolutionary niche apparently confines them to being vandals of electricity networks.

  7. So many stories in that place…you don’t need fake news……..I really love the absolute disdain they have for blonde hair and blues eyes…kkkkkkk
    Or better yet….they way the GNB profile you…..or the time I talked myself onto first class with SBA…with nothing more than tags on my bags…..kkkkkkkkk
    The place is gross…. and they still house the poor inside.

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