In the two weeks Maduro has bounced around the globe seeking help, the government has deployed soldiers to prevent stampedes and looting at markets while business leaders have warned that food stocks will run out by early March. Political opponents are rallying supporters and foreign investors are bracing for a potential default.Maduro has taken his tinhorn cup to Russia, China, Iran and other outposts of democracy hoping for handouts that will keep him in the good graces of the Cubans who keep him in power. But with Fidel on his death bed, can he count on them in a crisis?
This week, both hardliners and moderates gelled behind a common call to take to the streets to denounce the government's failings. The main anti-government coalition, however, has yet to organize a march and protests by students — a key sector in last year's demonstrations — have been small and sporadic.
The opposition hopes to gain momentum ahead of legislative elections later this year and take control of congress, which they hope to use as leverage to force a recall of Maduro.
Some analysts have raised the possibility of an even more dramatic scenario — a military coup. So far there's been no outward sign of disloyalty or nervousness on the part of the armed forces, which have seen their power expand dramatically under Maduro. But observers point out similarities to 1992.Which was when Hugo Chavez deposed the government of Carlos Andres Perez. But he had the assistance of Fidel and Raul Castro. Today, the Cuban presence in Venezuela is even stronger, so the opposition will have to overcome Maduro's foreign support, to remove him.