Software guru John McAfee, fighting deportation to Belize,
was rushed to a hospital in Guatemala shortly after his
asylum request was rejected, but a suspected heart attack
turned out to be stress in a fresh twist to the saga.
The 67-year-old U.S. computer software pioneer was taken
swiftly from a hospital in a police car out of the sight of
media, after earlier arriving in an ambulance lying on a
His lawyer said he was being taken back to an immigration
department cottage where he has been detained since crossing
illegally into Guatemala from neighboring Belize, where
police want to question him in connection with his neighbor's
"He never had a heart attack, nothing like that," said
Telesforo Guerra, a former attorney general who had earlier
said McAfee had two mild heart attacks.
"I'm not a doctor. I'm just telling you what the doctors told
me," he added. "He was suffering from stress, hypertension
and tachycardia (an abnormally fast heartbeat)."
McAfee was posting on his blog www.whoismcafee.com in the morning,
the time he suffered the stress attack.
"I don't think a heart attack prevents one from using one's
blog," Guerra had said at the time.
Guerra's assistant, Karla Paz, earlier said she found McAfee
lying on the ground and unable to move his body or speak.
McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police on Wednesday (local
time) for illegally sneaking across the border with his
20-year-old girlfriend to escape authorities in Belize. He
has said he fears authorities in Belize will kill him if he
Guatemala's foreign minister, Harold Caballeros, said earlier
McAfee's request for asylum was rejected.
Constitutional lawyer Gabriel Orellana, a former foreign
minister, said the government should have given more weight
to the asylum request rather than rush to a decision.
"We should take into account the fact that McAfee has not
been accused of any crime in Belize," he said.
QUARRELED WITH FELLOW AMERICAN
Police in Belize want to quiz McAfee as "a person of
interest" in the killing of a fellow American, Gregory Faull,
with whom he had quarreled. But they say he is not a prime
suspect in the probe.
McAfee says he has been persecuted by Belize's ruling party
because he refused to pay around $2 million he says it is
trying to hustle out of him, he said.
Belize's prime minister denies this and said McAfee, who made
millions from the Internet anti-virus software that bears his
name, was "bonkers." McAfee later lost much of his fortune
and turned to a life of semi-reclusion by the Belizean beach.
McAfee spent Wednesday night reading his blog and posting his
thoughts on a laptop he said was lent to him by the warden of
the cottage where he was staying.
One person asked him if he felt like committing suicide.
"I enjoy living, and suicide is absurdly redundant," he
wrote. "The world, from the very beginning, hurls viruses,
accidents, hungry animals, defective DNA - and uncountable
more - in an attempt to kill us. It always succeeds. Suicide
is simply aiding and abetting."
McAfee's earlier posts spoke of his relief at arriving in
Guatemala, thinking he had found a way out of his troubles.
One of his readers posted a message offering him just that.
"John. I have a special ops team near the La Aurora
International Airport. I can get you out of jail and provide
safe passage back to the States for a fee. Please let me know
if this interests you."
Guatemala's government originally said the eccentric tech
entrepreneur, who loves guns and young women and has tribal
tattoos covering his shoulders, would be expelled to Belize
within hours. But it later rowed back.
The U.S. State Department said it was aware of McAfee's
arrest and its embassy was providing "appropriate consular
services," but could not comment further.
On the island of Ambergris Caye, where McAfee has lived for
about four years, residents and neighbors say he is eccentric
and at times unstable. He was seen to travel with armed
bodyguards, sporting a pistol tucked into his belt.
The predicament of the former Lockheed systems consultant is
a far cry from his heyday in the late 1980s, when he started
McAfee Associates. McAfee has no relationship now with the
company, which was sold to Intel Corp.
McAfee was previously charged in Belize with possession of
illegal firearms, and police had raided his property on
suspicions that he was running a lab to produce illegal
synthetic narcotics. He says he has not taken drugs since
"I took drugs constantly, 24 hours of the day. I took them
for years and years. I was the worst drug abuser on the
planet," he told Reuters just before his arrest. "Then I
finally went to Alcoholics Anonymous, and that was the end of