Yet despite the possibility, in the words of Russ Dallen of investment bank Latinvest, that Venezuela will become “the first Somalia-like failed state of the 21st century”, the government still has a tight grip on power.
“The chavistas have no place to go and they will hold on for as long as possible,” Mr Dallen says.
Mr Dallen is more cautious.
He believes the government will try to resist growing calls for a recall referendum against Mr Maduro until next year, a manoeuvre that would enable the chavistas to remain in power under a new president.
The best chance of success for Mr Ochoa’s plan may be that the government simply cannot last that long.
“Things are rapidly spinning out of control,” says Mr Dallen. “That’s the wild card.”