Sicuani, a market town of about 30,000 people 150km south-east of the tourist resort of Cusco, is rarely mentioned during the day-to-day circus of Peruvian politics. In a sense, that makes it a perfect setting for a revolution.

Tomorrow the town is to host the launch of the Peruvian version of Bolivia’s Movement to Socialism (MAS), the radical anti-globalisation party headed by Evo Morales, the indigenous coca-growers’ leader whose militant rhetoric sends shivers down the spines of many in Washington. Mr Morales will be guest of honour.

Carlos Cusihuamán Orconi, a leftwing leader in Sicuani who is one of the main organisers, says the presence of Mr Morales and up to 10 MAS parliamentarians at the launch is merely symbolic. “We will be a socialist, independent regional movement. We have invited Evo Morales because he is a social fighter.”

But in less guarded moments, Mr Morales has struck a different tone. In an interview with the Chilean daily El Mercurio, he spoke of “internationalising the MAS” by promoting “pro-sovereignty movements based on the social movements of Latin America, to curb the arrogance of imperialism”.

That Mr Morales is looking beyond Bolivia should alarm the US State Department, which considers him a protege of Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president it views as the region’s troublemaker-in-chief.

It also feeds into concerns among some US hawks who have urged stronger intervention in the Andean region. Michael Radu, of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a conservative think-tank in Philadelphia, has written recently of Washington’s “paralysis” in the face of “the increased radicalisation of Indians in [the] Andean region”.

Although Peru has a bigger indigenous population than its neighbours Bolivia and Ecuador - and an indigenous president - it has traditionally been largely unrepresented, politically invisible and less mobilised. ~The Financial Times

Washington’s “paralysis” is explicable more in terms of the impossibility of endorsing its democratist nonsense without empowering political forces in Latin America, among them Hugo Chavez’s supporters, whose politics make them adamantly and unreservedly anti-American, in the sense that they want no part of the “benevolent hegemony” offered by pro-Washington politicians. The reason there is no coherent Latin American policy is that the geniuses who currently guide our foreign policy cannot seem to grasp that Hugo Chavez is a perfect representative of what democracy and elections produce in Latin America (it is for this reason that Washington briefly and rightly welcomed the very brief coup against Chavez): how does this demagogic dictator fit into the mythical story of democracy bringing endless good tidings?

Because Venezuela, now Bolivia and soon Peru cannot fit into the ideologues’ narrow, pitiful vision, the entire continent has been neglected and ignored because the ideologues have nothing to offer but platitudes and uniform, simplistic approaches to the variety of human experiences. Latin America remains a sterling example of how populist democracy is strangling the countries in which it flourishes, just as populist Peronism strangled the once wealthy Argentina, and how encouraging such democracy there, which will inevitably take on the features of populist upheaval, must lead to the fall of governments hospitable to legitimate American interests.

It is a core noninterventionist view that the business of the Latin American republics is their own, so if they embrace self-defeating socialism, if they think it will preserve their independence, they are welcome to it. But it is also impossible to ignore the ruinous effects populist and democratic politics have had on Latin America in the last 20 years, and not only in the poorest, socialist-prone countries. Panamanian democracy is a colossal, bad joke, a rule of oligarchs as corrupt as Berezovsky, and the only places in which the democratic experience has not been an unmitigated failure for the nations involved has been in Brazil and some of the smaller Central American states. While comparable nations in Asia have grown and advanced in that period, Latin America remains scarcely better off today than when the wave of democratisation swept over it. That is what the future holds for a democratised Near East at best, if the region should somehow ever experience such a thing.