Starting in 1968, Salvadoran President Fidel Sanchez Hernandez began focusing his presidency on accomplishing three major reforms, in education, administration, and agriculture. The education reform he put in place upset Salvadoran teachers for three main reasons. First, teachers were required to pass every student to the next grade, when before they had “held-back” failing students. Second, the new mathematics curriculum taught concepts that Salvadoran teachers had never taught before and considered pointless.
Prior to 1919 in El Salvador, labor unions were virtually nonexistent and even as they formed, they were not recognized by the government until 1923 and 1924. Living and working under the oppressive Meléndez-Quiñónez regime (in power from 1913 to 1931) made organizing particularly challenging. So when labor movements did begin to arise, they came in waves with many different groups working at the same time. Among these groups were the Zapateros (shoemakers).
In 2002, El Salvador was under intense pressure from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to privatize its healthcare system, which had up until that point been controlled by the government and available to all legally employed Salvadorans. The system, while admittedly seriously lacking in the services that it provided to the typical Salvadoran, had shown marked improvements over the past few years. A widely popular 1999 strike by the ISSS, the healthcare workers union, had prevented the country from privatizing healthcare and since that point services had graduall