John McAfee

John McAfee, Libertarian Party Presidential Hopeful, Is Running His Campaign-in-Exile from Cuba

McAfee lauds Che Guevara for being revolutionary and thinks Cuba is his last chance to avoid extradition for tax crimes.


"If Cuba extradites me, I will be silenced forever," John McAfee told me today by phone from Cuba, his new home base for a campaign to be the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in 2020.

The founder of the ubiquitous anti-virus computer software company named for him, McAfee finished third for the Libertarian Party's (L.P.) presidential nomination in 2016. Now a cryptocurrency booster and entrepreneur, he's having another run.

McAfee knows there's essentially no chance that an L.P. presidential candidate can win the presidency in 2020. But he is also confident that a grand jury is currently convening and will indict him for tax-related crimes. He admits he hasn't paid income taxes in eight years and says he does not intend to do so ever again. McAfee announced back in January he'd have to campaign in exile.

For the past few months, he had been hanging out in the Bahamas. He chose the Carribean nation because the U.S.-Bahamian extradition treaty says that extraditable crimes must be a crime in both nations, and the Bahamas have no income tax.

However, McAfee said today that he became aware, through means he won't specify, that either the CIA or FBI was about to nab him on trumped-up charges of "murder, money laundering, racketeering, whatever racketeering is, under guise of forcing extradition, then dropping those charges" when they got him back to the U.S. and nailing him for the income tax evasion. "I cannot tell you how I know, but I am John McAfee, one of the greatest cybersecurity experts in the world, and nothing gets by me," he says.

Despite being forced to Cuba by circumstances beyond his control, McAfee says he's enjoying his stay. While U.S. propaganda paints the country as relentlessly grey due to decades of communism, McAfee is finding it to be "party central" with wonderfully congenial people. He added that since the U.S. never let Cuba alone, we can't be sure how much of their relative economic stagnation is the fault of their system or our meddling, though he grants their economic system was far from libertarian. He also believes that the history of U.S.-Cuban relations, recently made worse by the Trump administration, leave him relatively safe to wage his campaign for president of the United States without worrying Cuba will extradite him, should official charges against him be issued.

That most of what we know and understand about our government and the world is the result of "propaganda" was a recurring theme in our phone conversation. That conviction explains why McAfee refuses to play the candidate game of spitballing about policy for the Middle East, immigration, or any other realm where he thinks the government is hiding the truth. For instance, because media and government stories depict a Cuba far grimmer than the one he's currently living in, McAfee wonders "how on earth are [Americans] to have a fucking clue about what to do about Cuba? Anyway it's not our goddamn problem, is it? We have problems of our own, what the fuck are we worrying about Cuba for?"

He also tweeted praise this week for Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, which lost him at least some Libertarian support. McAfee insists most who hate Guevara "haven't actually read history, his biography, his actual diary." McAfee believes Guevara "freed a couple of countries from the worst kinds of fascist dictatorship."

In the poll-free world of Libertarian primary politics, it's difficult to know which candidates have juice and which don't. Last night, McAfee called on his supporters on Twitter (where he has 980,000 followers) to email me directly to state their support for his candidacy; about 75 folks have done that as of this writing, with many claiming they are millennials, a demographic to which McAfee thinks he has special appeal.

"I hear very little buzz about McAfee this time around," Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark says via email. "Most of the activists who were supporting him last time have moved on to other things or other candidates and are not even keeping up with his travels through the Caribbean." Additionally, says Sarwark, "making a defense of Che Guevara from Cuba may ingratiate him with the Cuban government, but it didn't resonate well with Libertarians."

Christian Ehmling, a Libertarian supporter who has run for state office as a Republican, announced on Facebook yesterday that although McAfee had once been his "top choice," the virus software pioneer's apparent affection for Guevara lost him the goodwill Ehmling felt for his "dodging the IRS." McAfee's tax evasion was something Ehmling "could get behind," but he "cannot ever support anyone who is defending a man whose ideology led to the deaths of millions, and who called for the killings of racial minorities, homosexuals, and those with different beliefs."

Joshua Smith, an at-large member of the L.P.'s national committee, also wrote on Facebook that "as someone who has been able to travel around the country talking to Libertarians, [McAfee] has very little support within the party currently, and with his newest comment applauding the communist who had gays and minorities executed, he will have even less."

"Go ahead and get upset" was McAfee's message to Libertarians unhappy with tweeted support for a bloody Communist revolutionary. "I'm for revolutionary people. What does that mean? It means not just talking bullshit, saying 'Hey I hate taxes.' Look at what people actually do, for fuck's sake. I stood up and said 'no' [to being taxed] and I deserve respect for that. At least I stood up and did something and that's what Che did.

"It's hard to judge a person's life based on isolated instances here or there. He stood up and acted on his beliefs and whether I believe the same [as Guevara] or not, I could give a shit; he stood up and acted and how many people in the L.P. are standing up for what they fucking believe, I ask you that?"

Desarae Lindsey, who coordinated volunteers for McAfee in 2016, once thought he could be the Libertarians' Donald Trump. She was involved with an operation McAfee helped launch after his presidential run called Vote Different, but thinks he dropped the ball in continuing to push for that endeavor, which made her lose enthusiasm for him. She is now campaign manager for Vermin Supreme, and believes she's not alone in moving on from McAfee. (Lindsey believes that the L.P. needs colorful, humorous, outrageous standard-bearers).

Rob Loggia, McAfee's current campaign manager and a veteran of his 2016 operation, said in a phone interview this week that they still intend to have masked surrogates appear on McAfee's behalf at L.P. conventions and events through the campaign season, which doesn't end until the assembled delegates of the Libertarian Party's national convention choose their candidate in May 2020. The masks portraying McAfee's visage "are real, and in the hands of hundreds of volunteers already," Loggia said.

As for McAfee's lack of personal availability: it is only an issue "if you are thinking in terms of the way a campaign is traditionally run," Loggia said. That's not McAfee's goal; Loggia notes his candidate has promised that if he's elected to the presidency, he will "lock himself in a room and not come out on inauguration day."

Running a campaign from Cuba is something Loggia thinks "people have to pay attention to" and doubts that it will be a deal-killer in winning the L.P. nomination, though he admits the eventual delegate mix at the 2020 national convention in Austin would have to be more McAfee types and less L.P. traditionalists if McAfee hopes to win. Because delegates to the national convention are chosen at state conventions, that would require quite a ground game.

But while Loggia says his candidate is seriously running for the nomination, he admits that even if McAfee loses, the exiled candidate "will not feel he's wasted his time" and will appreciate the opportunities along the way to "be part of the national conversation." While they have not yet begun reaching out directly to supporters in a traditional campaign messaging way, Loggia says their email blasts could probably reach 15,000 people, and that McAfee's tweets reach nearly a million.

Loggia has never voted for president and thinks his candidate's most likely audience is some portion of the vast near-majority of Americans who also sit out each national election for lack of a candidate who doesn't seem just one more tool of a corrupt system. Loggia, who has worked with McAfee on both campaigns and in crypto businesses, says his candidate is the greatest "mirror" he's ever encountered, and that if you have a bad time relating with John McAfee, the problem might well be with yourself.

They are not fundraising for the campaign right now, Loggia says, and McAfee says he is on his travels "living off the kindness of friends; quite frankly, in my life, I've benefitted thousands and some of those people are now benefitting me."

McAfee has no illusions about his chances in a general election, but still thinks he's in there swinging with the L.P. "Running for president gives me the right to stand up and say I've got coordinators in five regions of the U.S. and tons of volunteers and I'm actually doing something, and if that's not running for president I don't know what is."

It also gives him a forum to "talk to the press, tell my opinions to everyone" and get across his message that the U.S. government is more or less an impenetrable criminal conspiracy of liars, and that he's against it—so against it he's chosen to stop funding it and has, in fact, left it. For now.


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    1. How are you posting links? Everytime I try posting a link, the comment never appears.

      1. Same here.

    2. I’m going to run for President and lock myself in my bathroom and not come out until after my inauguration.

    1. You guys are better at this but give em hell libs!

  1. A Libertarian party candidate has decided to take refuge in a totalitarian state. Well, that’s brilliant. Glad I got out of that joke of a party when I did.

    1. That he is free to declare a candidacy is not evidence of the LP being a joke party. The LP has ballot access and that is no joke.

      I would not vote for McAfee.

      1. Haha, I love your username. Joe Rogan would not approve.

      2. But the party is just getting started. We were going to have karaoke later and there are fresh cheese puffs and Swedish meatballs coming out in a few minutes.

        I actually don’t belong to any political party. I have a strict rule that I will never join any political organization that would have me as a member.

        You could put a dog up for office and put an (L) next to his name and I would vote for him however. Come to think of that would be a big improvement over our current leadership.

    2. I wonder if McAfee took his special hammock with him to Cuba. You know, the one that let’s hookers shit in his mouth.

      1. *lets

    3. That the Cuban government is letting him run a Libertarian Party campaign there shows that it probably thinks the party is a joke too. But pro bonobo is right, it doesn’t mean that it actually is.

  2. McAfee insists most who hate Guevara “haven’t actually read history, his biography, his actual diary.” McAfee believes Guevara “freed a couple of countries from the worst kinds of fascist dictatorship.”

    Surprising left out of his own biography is the story verified by multiple witnesses that Che “the worthless fuckstick” Guevara shot a 12 year-old boy in the head in front of the boy’s father because the father refused to kneel for his own execution.

    He replaced ruthless dictatorships with ruthless dictatorships. I have read the history, and it sounds like McAfee is just another apologist for socialist murderers to me. I am sure he thinks all the sorrow at the death of Uncle Joe was genuine too.

    1. Yeah…if you’re pro-Guevara, you’re either a monster or a moron. That’s all there is to it.

      1. Or…. you are claiming asylum in Cuba and you want to ingratiate yourself with the local government so that you don’t get extradited or kicked out.

    2. Fuck Che Guevara. One of my friends is from Bolivia and he says Che killed his brother.

    3. McAfee is a deranged piece of shit. No better than anyone in the democrat primary clown car.

      A lot of people here botch about Trump, but goddamn, I’m not seeing any real argument for any other candidate worth a shot who could actually stand up to the communists and the cronyists.

      1. What cronyists is Trump standing up to?

        1. The FBI, the CIA, the military industrial establishment, the incestuous media…

  3. and the Bahamas have no income tax.

    It was as if millions of progressive voices cried out in terror were suddenly silenced.

  4. Do the major parties secretly hire these whackjobs to run under the libertarian banner just to make sure no one in their parties ever takes libertarians seriously?

    1. They don’t need to hire them. Street theatre is for free.

  5. Hmmmm. Project Veritas banned at Vimeo.
    Robby Soave says “I once caught James O’Keefe at a pro-Bernie rally pretending to be an irate supporter of Hillary Clinton. Please do not take his deceptively edited videos seriously.”

    1. What was Robby Soave pretending to be at this pro-Bernie rally?

      1. An elephant in his pajamas.

      2. A hippie with bad hair.

  6. Well let’s hope Justin Amash decides to run. Otherwise it will be another shitshow.

    1. “Well let’s hope Justin Amash decides to run.”

      He’s gonna end up competing with the D candidate in the “Trump is a big poopyhead’ event.

  7. (Lindsey believes that the L.P. needs colorful, humorous, outrageous standard-bearers).

    Ha! Smart professional libertarians believe the L.P. needs washed up, has been Republican losers who can “spoil” the election by throwing the electoral college majority to the Democrat candidate.

    1. Paging Justin Amash

  8. Disappointing, but still better than the ex-GOP hacks TEAM LOSERDOPIAN usually favors.

  9. Well, looks like he’s finally jumped the shark…or the whale.

    1. Bye Felicia

  10. From what I hear the beaches are awesome, the rum and cigars are great, prices are reasonable, food is good, and there are plenty of beautiful women around. If you have money sounds like the perfect pirate hideout so long as the Cuban government leaves you alone. Pirate describes him pretty well.

    I think this libertarian thing for him is just another hobby. Would not take it too seriously. I doubt he does.

  11. Starchild’s got nutt’n on McAfee!

  12. Wow. Just wow. Hey, you know what other fucking nuts guy ran for office?
    Also, how is this supposed to work? He shows up to be sworn in, gets arrested, and can’t actually pardon himself because he got arrested before he could get sworn in, makes bail, gets sworn in, pardons himself, and then is immediately impeached? Yup, this guy is crazy. And isn’t he still wanted for questioning about a murder in yet another country? They’ll ask Cuba to extradite on murder charges, drop said charges, and the US can extradite him from there.
    Just pay your fucking taxes, John, like the rest of us (Henry David Thoreau excepted. Oh, and I knew Henry David Thoreau, sir, and you are no Henry David Thoreau).

    1. I don’t think he is nuts.

      He is a computer genius who made and mostly lost a fortune.

      He is just a guy who likes to live life on the edge. He made and mostly lost a fortune. All that stuff in Belize. Pure banana republic shananagins. They accuse you of something and steal your stuff which is what they did.

      He knows he does not going to win any elections. Maybe this is just his way of saying to the world that he is not ready to fade away and is going down kickin’

      Why should he follow the rules? He can just keep cruising around the Caribbean on his boat with his 30 years younger wife, soaking up sun and drinking rum until his clock runs out.

      Good for him.

      1. You don’t think he’s nuts? He pays hookers to crap in his mouth. Claims he fucks whales.

        1. Fucked a few whales back in the day. Hey, just more of ‘em to love.

          Don’t know about the Cleveland Steamer thing but I’ll withold judgement on that for now and don’t really want to know any more about it.

      2. Quoth McAfee: “Communism here in Cuba was never given a chance to reveal its potential of lack of it. It has been strangled by the US for 63 years. I will say this – Cuba has no homeless. America has millions.”

        Stock commie apologist crap. Nuts or not, he’s no libertarian.

        1. Dude he is on the lam from the feds for tax evasion and whatever this thing in Belize was about. In Cuba.

          This is the best damn meatloaf I have ever eaten. Got any scotch?

    2. No dummy, you can’t indict a sitting president, or something like that. They’d have to impeach him first.

  13. He’s almost crazy enough for the Democratic party.

  14. What does he do if he wins? Pardon himself as soon as he’s sworn in?

  15. He is right that “we can’t be sure how much of their relative economic stagnation is the fault of their system or [how much is the fault of] our meddling”. Same goes for Venezuela. I strongly doubt either country would be doing well, but I’m also pretty sure neither would be doing as poorly as it is without U.S. sanctions. Especially Venezuela.

    If he is right that the U.S. was planning to extradite him on trumped-up (no pun intended) charges, then drop them and charge him with tax evasion and related offenses instead, that is a very sad commentary on today’s U.S. government. Could “Trumped-up” be accurate in the sense that Trump ordered such a thing? I doubt the President would bother with someone like McAfee, but who knows?

    What income has he had that he owes taxes on anyway? I guess he almost certainly has had some. But serious question: if someone has enough money to be “set for life”, and lives off that money without generating new income, would he even have to file tax returns? Are there any people doing that? Can you even keep millions of dollars in non-interest-bearing accounts? I guess technically you could.

  16. You’re pretty sure, but you’d be wrong. Especially about Venezuela. Which sanctions do you think are tanking Venezuela and why.

    This oughtta be good.

    1. I don’t really know the details of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, but it does seem curious that the country seemed to be holding its own for quite a few years under Chavez, and then things collapsed quite rapidly. If sanctions were not a factor, actual sabotage of the electrical system may have been. There were plans for such a thing, why assume they weren’t used? (This has nothing to do with McAfee and his ridiculous campaign for President, of course.)

      1. They basically ran out of other people’s money. When they nationalized oil and other industries with high oil prices there was money flowing in. They used this to subsidize cheap stuff for the masses and of course corruption, At the same time the people who really knew how to run things began to leave.

        The government became more and more repressive as it became more evident that the system was beginning to crumble. As oil prices dropped the cracks in the dam became more obvious. The electrical grid was because it just wore out and nobody had bothered to invest in what it would take to fix it.

        Massive inflation began to set in. Productivity dropped lower and lower partly due to further exodus of people. Money was used for firewood. People could not get enough food. The government kept what it could for itself. At a certain point it had spiraled to the point of complete collapse.

        The sanctions came rather late in the process and probably are contributing to the economic pressure but not what caused it.

        Not only socialism but ultra crappy socialism.

        At least that is the story as I understand it.

      2. OK I am blabbering on a bit.

        I think it would be like a company like Apple just taking profits and handing them out. Giving everyone a 100k raise and bonuses instead of using it to reinvest in new phones and other things.

        You can imagine what would happen. A few years things would be OK then sales would drop, they would run out of cash, investors would sell as stock tanked, engineers and management would leave the sinking ship and eventually no more Apple.

  17. Ah, a symbol of the Libertarian party of today. McAffee and Hihn should get a room, and they can party with the entire Reason staff.

  18. “If Cuba extradites me, I will be silenced forever,” John McAfee told me today by phone from Cuba,


    I know the feeling.

  19. “If Cuba extradites me, I will be silenced forever,” John McAfee told me today by phone from Cuba,


  20. He is free to run but he makes a joke of the Libertarian party. Not good for any libertarian that at least wants libertarian views to get a listen in policy discussions.

  21. IMO these opinions of his, which are his right to have, only further hurt and confuse potential members/voters for the LP. Freedom and Dictatorships don’t have much in common. A person who fights the system isn’t always a hero and we’re all judged by our actions. Che killed more than he helped and with viciousness. Ruling by fear has nothing to do with my reason to vote LP — if there was someone to vote for..

  22. There can be no tolerance for those who praise Marxist revolutionaries in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and removed from society.

    1. You gotta admit though Che was just dreamy. That curly mane and scruffy beard. If I was gay definitely would.

      1. Of course, if you were gay, Che would have sent you to a concentration camp….

        1. You picked up on that part.

          It seems a strange thing to me that the gay community was so oppressed by the communists. Not just in Cuba. Now it is near forgotten.

          Many things once forgotten are there to be found. I am Jewish and came across this article about a long neglected cemetery in Havana being restored now.

          At one time there was a sizable Jewish community there. Near all left after the revolution.

          Don’t think there is a moral in this story. Just interesting to me.

          1. Oops link not exactly working as I thought.

  23. […] from their mistakes, they’re doubling down.  Reason Magazine has a whole feature on John McAfee, creator of the popular antivirus software, who hasn’t paid income taxes in eight years and […]

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