U.S. software guru John McAfee, fighting deportation from Guatemala to
Belize to face questions about the slaying of a neighbor, said on
Saturday he wants to return to the United States.
"My goal is to get
back to America as soon as possible," McAfee, 67, said in a phone call
to Reuters from the immigration facility where he is being held for
illegally crossing the border to Guatemala with his 20-year-old
"I wish I could just pack my bags and go to Miami,"
McAfee said. "I don't think I fully understood the political situation.
I'm an embarrassment to the Guatemalan government and I'm jeopardizing
their relationship with Belize."
The two neighboring countries in
Central America are locked in a decades-long territorial dispute and
voters in 2013 will decide in a referendum how to proceed.
to McAfee's remarks, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said U.S.
citizens in foreign countries are subject to local laws. Officials can
only ensure they are "treated properly within this framework," she said.
Wednesday, Guatemalan authorities arrested McAfee in a hotel in
Guatemala City where he was holed up with his Belizean girlfriend.
former Silicon Valley millionaire is wanted for questioning by Belizean
authorities, who say he is a "person of interest" in the killing of
fellow American Gregory Faull, McAfee's neighbor on the Caribbean island
of Ambergris Caye.
The two had quarreled at times, including over
McAfee's unruly dogs. Authorities in Belize say he is not a prime
suspect in the investigation.
Guatemala rejected McAfee's request
for asylum on Thursday. His lawyers then filed several appeals to block
his deportation. They say it could take months to resolve the matter.
software developer has been evading Belize authorities for nearly four
weeks and has chronicled his life on the run in his blog,
McAfee claims authorities will kill him if he
turns himself in for questioning. He has denied any role in Faull's
killing and said he is being persecuted by Belize's ruling party for
refusing to pay some $2 million in bribes.
Belize's prime minister has rejected this, calling McAfee paranoid and "bonkers.
Beating head against wall
making millions with the anti-virus software bearing his name, McAfee
later lost much of his fortune. For the past four years he has lived in
semi-reclusion in Belize.
He started McAfee Associates in the late
1980s but left soon after taking it public. McAfee now has no
relationship with the company, which was later sold to Intel Corp.
after his arrest, McAfee was rushed to a hospital for what his lawyer
said were two mild heart attacks. Later he said the problem was stress.
McAfee said he fainted after days of heavy smoking, poor eating and
knocking his head against a wall.
He told Reuters he no longer has
access to the Internet and has turned over the management of his blog
to friends in Seattle, Washington. On Saturday, they began posting a
series of files claiming to detail Belize's corruption.
and neighbors in Belize have said the eccentric tech entrepreneur, who
is covered in tribal tattoos and kept an entourage of bodyguards and
young women on the island, had appeared unstable in recent months.
in April raided his property in Belize on suspicion he was running a
lab to make illegal narcotics. There already was a case against him for
possession of illegal firearms.
McAfee says the charges are an attempt to frame him.
are saying I'm paranoid and crazy but it's difficult for people to
comprehend what has been happening to me," he said. "It's so unusual, so
out of the mainstream."
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012