I've never been there, but from all accounts before the earthquake it was a depressing, third-world hell hole with rampant poverty and corruption. From Wikipedia:
Haitian politics have been contentious. Most Haitians are aware of Haiti's history as the only country in the Western Hemisphere to undergo a successful slave revolution. On the other hand, the long history of oppression by dictators, including François Duvalier, has markedly affected the nation. France and the United States have repeatedly intervened in Haitian politics since the country's founding, sometimes at the request of one party or another. People's awareness of the threat of such intervention also permeates national life.Sounds like a wonderful place to live, doesn't it? Mostly Cajun has more:
The country has a particularly high level of corruption.
Haiti already was a third-world hell-hole. Poorest of the Caribbean nations, one of the poorest in the world, never able to parlay anything like an industry or tourism or anything, poorly governed, right in the middle of Hurricane Alley, you name it, if it was bad, Haiti ended up with it. Started out as a Spanish colony, then a French colony, suffered under slavery until shortly before the French Revolution. Then slaves revolted, the French post-revolutionary government stepped en to restore slavery and French government, then just gave up and left the island to slaves and former slaves, and the new government had an “emperor for life”, then the little nation slid into every horror of bad government imaginable. In its 200-year history, Haiti has seen 32 coups.Now, after the earthquake, it's truly a hell-hole. The damage, from all accounts, is general to the entire island.
Back when I was a soldier, I relieved a bunch of GI's who went to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy (1994). They told me that Haiti was a beautiful island nation with wonderful vistas and sparkling beaches. It should have been a premier tourist destination, but the corrupt govermnents wouldn't let the people prosper.
Those people need our prayers, at the very least.