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Facebook doesn’t believe in Pancho Claus

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With his signature red and black zoot suit inspired by the Chicano movement, Richard Reyes, also known as Pancho Claus, has been a staple among Latinos in the Houston community.

But to Facebook, he’s nonexistent.

Pancho Claus’ profile was recently removed from the social network as questions of his existence arose.

“They asked me to send them an ID and a bank statement with the name on it,” the 64-year-old said. “I emailed it to them, and they said the profile would be up until they could verify my identity.”

Reyes assumed the character of Pancho Claus in 1981 as part of a play he had written when he was a volunteer for the bilingual theater, Talento Bilingue de Houston. The character’s appeal has since made him a sensation and a beloved figure in the Latino community.

Pancho Claus, along with his entourage who are equally donned in zoot suits, have been bringing gifts and music to underprivileged kids around the Houston area for over 30 years.

“Maybe I don’t exist to people in other places, but to people in Houston, I do,” Reyes said. “I get phone calls and messages from people asking me to visit their relatives.”

Reyes said it was around 4 p.m. on Oct. 15, when he noticed his Pancho Claus Facebook profile had been removed, the same day he was being honored as Executive Director Emeritus by Talento Bilingue de Houston.

His Facebook profile was created in 2010, and he now has nearly 5,000 friends in his network. Although he now has a Facebook fan page, he said he initially created a profile instead of a page because he wasn’t sure how Facebook worked at the time.

Deleting his profile, he said, would hinder his ability to communicate with people trying to reach him and send him messages.

Facebook’s terms and conditions require users to create profiles using their real names and information.

“You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.” – Facebook

After a two-week absence, his profile has been reinstated “temporarily” and users have now taken to his Facebook profile to attest to his existence and share their experience with the Houston legend.

Reyes’ Facebook post about the situation has garnered over 600 shares and 855 likes.

“Pancho Claus is definitely real! Back in the 80s he came to my elementary school on the north side” said Facebook user Raquel Hernandez. “I was four years old maybe five, and I remember my parents thanking him.”



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