"To count out Chavismo without Chavez is to ignore that there is Peronism without Peron and Sandinismo without Sandino," he tweeted. "It will suffer a great loss without Chavez, but it has a legacy of power and symbolism that it can exploit."
Peronism is a movement named after former Argentine President Juan Peron, a legacy that has been claimed over the years by parties both on the political right and left.
Outlook good for Chavismo in short term
Despite suffering from cancer, Chavez resoundingly won re-election in October. His popularity, combined with the outpouring of tributes in the wake of his death, make a Chavista victory likely in the new elections that must be called.
Maduro was named by Chavez as his preferred successor and could easily win the election, but he will have to put the movement's unity as his priority, said Steve Ellner, a professor at Venezuela's Universidad de Oriente who has written several books about Chavez's Venezuela.
There are divisions within Chavismo that have come to light as Chavez's health faded. Some stand behind Maduro, who is close with the Cuban regime, while others side with Diosdado Cabello, the National Assembly president who is more of a nationalist. Because Chavez was never sworn in for his latest terms, there is even a debate over which of the two, constitutionally, should be the interim president.
In the short term, Maduro will have to avoid internal dissent that threatens the movement, Ellner said. That may mean adopting populist positions that the nationalists like.
"I don't see a turn to the moderate policies that some favor," Ellner said.
One of the characteristics of Chavismo is the fervor of its adherents. Chavez was a master of cultivating that fervor, and the next Chavista leader will have to do the same, Ellner said.
"In any process of far-reaching changing, it is essential," he said.
Maintaining that level of fervor keeps followers from becoming disillusioned, he said. One of Chavez's strategies was to surprise Venezuelans with new policies that invigorated the rank-and-file, a formula that future leaders may have to follow, he said.
In a speech at his swearing in as interim leader, Maduro promised to follow Chavez's path.
"We still have him in our hearts," he said. "I have him here, here, as if he was the name in my soul, because I am his son."
The future of Chavismo
The grip of Chavismo on Venezuela is not guaranteed.
"I have my doubts about the existence of Chavismo without Chavez," leading opposition figure Henrique Capriles told a Spanish newspaper in January. "To me, any movement without its leading figure is deeply vulnerable."
Capriles is expected to be the opposition candidate to challenge Maduro for the presidency.
"It will depend on opposition voters understanding that Chavismo without Chavez is beatable and deeply vulnerable if they mobilize," he said.
If Chavismo is victorious in its first election without Chavez, the new leader will have to face decisions that may cause dissatisfaction among the movement, said Corrales, the Amherst professor.
If Maduro wins, he will have to deal with a tough economic crisis and will be forced to consider future devaluations and spending cuts, topics which have provoked tensions within Chavismo in the past.
The next president also will have to rethink the way that the country's oil wealth is spent and the subsidies it provides, both foundations of Chavismo.
Supporters of Chavez are more optimistic about the lasting legacy of Chavez.
"Chavismo, at one point, was focused on the figure of Chavez as the all-emcompassing one, but it grew and expanded to become this mass movement that has crossed the borders out of Venezuela into the world beyond and has affected countries around the world," Eva Golinger, a Venezuelan-American attorney, author and adviser to Chavez told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
Chavismo and the social revolution that Chavez began will continue, she predicted.
"Chavez (was) a very powerful personality, very charismatic person, larger than life, and most media attention went to him," Golinger said. "But in the end, what really has been going on in Venezuela is a whole transformation of the country, that's why it's called a revolution, changing every sector of society."