People in this sleepy hamlet are so sure they have been receiving other-worldly visitors, they want to build a UFO landing strip to welcome them.

A bright green sign along a lonely country road in southwestern Puerto Rico proudly displays a silhouette of a flying saucer and two words: "Extraterrestrial Route."


Most Puerto Ricans laughed when a horse farmer installed the sign on his property at the request of Reynaldo Rios, a local elementary school teacher who says he's been communicating with alien visitors to this U.S. territory since he was a child.

Rios, a 39-year-old with a goatee and a shock of dark hair, won't be ignored. With the blessing of a local government desperate for tourist dollars, he's dedicated himself to building the UFO landing strip.

"I can't say exactly when they will come, but I know it will happen," Rios said. "I want to keep believing in my dreams."

Lajas Mayor Marcos Irizarry's support for the idea has provoked outrage among islanders who complained it would be a waste of money at a time when the government is encouraging thousands of employees to shorten their work week to cope with a staggering fiscal deficit.

"What nonsense," said Luis Arocho, 47, sipping coffee with friends in a cafe in historic Old San Juan. "This country is in crisis, and since politicians are incapable of creating jobs, they create fantasies."

Irizarry quickly clarified that his municipal government would not invest in the project. Instead, he has promised to help Rios get the proper building permits.

The mayor insists his goal is to attract tourists to his small town.

But he is also among Lajans who believe they have seen UFOs in the area.

"It's a very mysterious place," said Irizarry, who says he once saw red lights zigzagging above the hills. "A lot of people have seen things."

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