This article examines the successive reinterpretations of one of Cuba’s foundational texts, namely the Espejo de paciencia (“Model of Patience”, 1608) by Silvestre de Balboa, as a baroque poem. The revalorization of the baroque by twentieth-century Cuban authors and critics has been explained as a consequence of the erasure of indigenous cultures and the subsequent imposition of a metropolitan culture. In this sense, the baroque is supposed to be paradigmatic for “roots thinking” about nation-building and culture. The readings of Balboa’s poem by neo-baroque writers such as José Lezama Lima, Cintio Vitier and Severo Sarduy, however, put forward a transhistorical vision of the baroque and Cubanhood as an eternal and immutable phenomenon or, alternatively, a reading that privileges the technique of the collage, which involves a more active intervention in the historical process. The present essay seeks to systematize these neo-baroque readings of the Espejo in relation to a more “rhizomous” theory of cultural identity.