Venezuela's economy is in critical condition because its leaders tried to cut it off from the world. Despite massive oil wealth, the political leaders there -- who originally came to power in a democratic election -- have squandered the country's massive oil wealth, destroyed the currency through mismanagement (through a sick combination of inflation and currency controls), and left a vast population in conditions of real starvation.
When a country permits "strong" leaders to make expansive promises, interfere with the economy because they claim to know better, and cut off freedom of exchange with the rest of the world, a Venezuela-style economic calamity is one of the likely outcomes. Every country has things it can export and things it needs to import -- and there's nothing a "strong" leader can do to change that.
Don't let America make the Venezuelan mistake. Please.