Delsa Esther “Teté” Puebla (1940– ) was a brigadier general in Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces, a combatant in the 1956–58 revolutionary war and a founding member of the Communist Party of Cuba and Federation of Cuban Women (FMC). She was born December 9, 1940, in the town of Yara in...
Delsa Esther “Teté” Puebla (1940– ) was a brigadier general in Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces, a combatant in the 1956–58 revolutionary war and a founding member of the Communist Party of Cuba and Federation of Cuban Women (FMC). She was born December 9, 1940, in the town of Yara in eastern Cuba.
In 1956, during her first year at the Teacher Training School in Manzanillo, she joined the underground July 26 Movement, which was fighting to bring down the US-backed tyranny of Fulgencio Batista. She took numerous tasks and assignments over the next year, until a member of the movement was arrested and talked under torture, telling of Puebla’s involvement. She left her studies in July 1957 and went to the Sierra Maestra mountains, where she became a member of the Rebel Army.
In September 1958 she became a founding member and second in command of the Mariana Grajales Women’s Platoon, the first female combat unit of the Rebel Army. As a lieutenant, she took part in numerous battles between September and the revolution’s victory in January 1959. Since then her responsibilities have included:
- From February 1959, director of the Rebel Army’s Department of Assistance to War Victims and their families.
- From February 1963, head of education in the Eastern Army.
- From August 1964, in charge of the Children’s Farms for war orphans and of Social Security within the Western Army.
- From April 1966, working in a Special Unit to attend to the family members of internationalist volunteers.
- From March 1969, director of the Guaicanamar Cattle Plan in Jaruco, in Havana province.
- From October 1978, head of the military section of the Communist Party in Havana.
From 1985 until the present, Teté Puebla has served as director of the office responsible for Assistance to Combatants and Family Members of Internationalists and Martyrs of the Revolution.
A member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces for forty-six years, she attained the rank of lieutenant in 1958, captain in 1959, and colonel in 1994. In 1996 she was promoted to brigadier general.
From 1980 to 1986 she was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. From 1980 until the present she has been a member of the party’s Provincial Committee in Havana and its Ideological Commission.
She is a deputy to Cuba’s National Assembly, representing Central Havana municipality, and is a member of the assembly’s Permanent Defense Commission.
She has been a member of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) since 1960. From 1980 to 1989 she served on its National Committee and is currently a member of its City of Havana provincial committee.
She serves on the National Executive of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution (ACRC), as well as the provincial executive committee.
Since 1960 she has been married to Raúl Castro Mercader, who she met as a Rebel Army officer in Che Guevara’s column in the revolutionary war. He is today a brigadier general in the Revolutionary Armed Forces. They have three children and five grandchildren.
In December 2001 Teté Puebla received the title Hero of the Republic of Cuba, the country’s highest honor.