When the price of oil per barrel was very high, it benefitted the Venezuelan economy. Now that countries in the West, such as the United States, are less dependent on foreign oil, it has had a devastating effect on Venezuela's economy. That is because Venezuela's economy largely depends on oil. When the U.S. started using its own oil reserves, this decreased the demand for foreign oil from countries such as Venezuela. When the demand drops, so does the price. This is the law of supply and demand.