From Before I Play
- Make rum for money, it's a good value export and resources for it are infinite, profit is also doubled by booze baron background.
- Grow papaya or pineapple for food, extras can be exported for decent price unlike corn.
- Have your citizens live in tenements, with AC upgrade and fire station effect it gives decent living conditions at good population density, they're also incredibly cheap to build with soviet development aid.
- But if you have modern times borehole mine and gold deposit building a gold mine at start will cover all your early game money needs, especially with miner background increasing productivity.