Robert Mugabe stoked the fire between Zimbabwe and the West at the UN food conference in Rome, blaming the West for his country's deteriorating economy and the opposition groups that seek to oust him from power. He specifically identified humanitarian organizations as culprits, and had already suspended CARE — one of the world's biggest humanitarian agencies — and several other organizations from working in the country.
CARE has worked in Zimbabwe since 1992 helping educate and feed thousands of people and assisting with disaster relief. According to the New York Times, the suspension will leave 110,000 people without food aid for the month. Mugabe says giving CARE the boot is justified because the organization has ulterior motives. In his speech at the UN conference Mugabe declared:
Funds are being channeled through nongovernmental organizations to opposition political parties, which are a creation of the West. These Western-funded NGOs also use food as a political weapon with which to campaign against government, especially in the rural areas.
With nearly half the population threatened by hunger, the decision to suspend humanitarian organizations is likely to lead to more hardship.