A couple of windows into Haiti... (*note: both of these articles were written before the January 2010 earthquakes. Haiti's desperation has, in fact, been a long-standing rather than recent problem)
Above is a link to a very informative (although a bit long) article on Haiti's extreme poverty and some of the causes and contributing factors embedded within it.
Below is another link (considerably shorter) in which an American journalist describes his experience with the Haitian slave trade.
Shall we venture out together, and try to understand?
Then perhaps we could do something to help.