Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro is calling for a "re-founding" of the United Nations in his debut at the annual General Assembly of world leaders.

The socialist president took the podium late Wednesday to demand that the organization adjust to the realities of a multipolar world defined by new regional alliances.

Cooperation among Latin American countries has Venezuela poised to win a seat on the U.N. Security Council next year.

Maduro touched on leftist Latin American issues including the economic blockade of ally Cuba and the power of foreign financial institutions.

He railed against harassment by the "imperial forces" of the American empire. But unlike his mentor and predecessor Hugo Chavez, who compared George W. Bush to the devil in a U.N. speech, Maduro stopped short of personal attacks or name-calling.