The U.S. has a long and disgraceful history of oppressing the poor people of Haiti. In recent years, the U.S. supported the ouster of the democratically-elected president Aristide, and then only would allow him to return to the country if he agreed to a series of economic conditions imposed by the U.S. for the benefit of U.S. corporate interests.
Haiti used to be a country that raised much of its own basic food. Their staple is rice, and the country included many small rice farmers who were able to grow rice and feed many of the people in their communities.
In recent years, following the "Free Trade" policies adopted by Clinton, the U.S. has gone into other countries and taken control of their economies, through such institutions as the World Bank, and forced nations into permanent starvation and serfdom. After all, hungry people are obedient people. If a country is unable to grow its own food, and they are hungry, they will pay enormous amounts of money for food to eat.
The U.S. agricultural system has been taken over by corporations. They have put small farmers out of business. They are in the process of destroying all the "natural" seeds in the world which are used to grow the food that keeps us alive, and are creating laboratory genetically-altered seeds which they turn around and sell to farmers, starting at competitive prices but eventually at exorbitant prices.
The chemical companies which have taken control of the agricultural world want every farmer in the world to only use the chemical company seeds. These seeds can be put under a microscope and identified as coming from certain chemical companies, such as Monsanto. Every time any farmer uses any chemical company's seed, the farmer must pay more and more money to the chemical companies. The chemical companies are taking control of the entire food of the entire world. And they are creating starvation, sickness, and disease everywhere they spread their seeds.
For example, the reason everything is now made with corn is because the chemical companies have genetically altered the corn seed, and are pushing it onto Americans. Have you noticed that most corn today is fat and extremely sweet? Do you understand why so many children are fat and have diabetes? Extremely poor diets being pushed by the chemical companies. The genetically modified seeds, the corn specifically, have recently been shown to cause tumors in rats. Try to find corn that has not been created in a laboratory. Japan and Europe ban these seeds out of concern for the welfare of their own citizens.
In poor countries, the U.S. government takes control of the agricultural sector and forces the poor farmers to buy Monsanto seed. Or, the U.S. floods the country with U.S. corporate subsidized farm products grossly below market prices. The local farmers cannot compete and go out of business. Then the U.S. agribusiness corporations raise their prices, and much of the local population starves. That's what happened in Haiti. Below is an excellent short documentary on this subject. It explains a lot about why Haiti was in such desperate shape even before the earthquake.