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.
In 1979 the United States of America (USA) supported a coup against Salvadoran General Humberto Romero in reaction to the deaths, disappearances, and torture that had reached international attention. The new Salvadoran government became a civilian-military “revolutionary junta” which used armed forces to suppress the Salvadoran population. Opposition forces acted, using nonviolent and violent means, in order to prevent their suppression. The government enforced a complete and violent repression against dissent.
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