But the coronavirus pandemic is contributing to his greatest challenge yet.
Around the world, lockdowns to contain the virus have caused demand and prices for oil, Venezuela’s main export, to plummet. Last month his ally, Russia, and Saudi Arabia entered into an oil price war that suppressed prices even further.
Then the Russian oil giant, Rosneft, Venezuela’s main trading partner, halted operations there. Venezuela’s output of oil collapsed; not only was it too cheap to produce profitably, the country had lost its main outlet for selling crude or trading it for refined gasoline.
Gasoline supplies fell sharply, bringing much of Venezuela to a standstill.
Now the deadly pandemic is spreading through Latin America and reaching into Venezuela, a country whose health care systems have deteriorated so far that they lack even the most basic supplies.
“The regime is in survival mode,” said Michael Penfold, a Caracas-based fellow at the Wilson Center, a research group. “The country is entering into a very fragile equilibrium that’s going to be increasingly difficult to maintain.”
Mr. Maduro, who was recently indicted in the United States on drug charges, was among the first Latin American leaders to act against the virus, rolling out a national lockdown on March 15 — compounding the economic calamity — two days after confirming the first infection in the country.
As of Monday, the government said, there had been 181 cases and nine deaths, but it is hard to gauge how many have gone unreported.